Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 5 July 2016 - StrasbourgFinal edition
EU-Peru Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 Emission limits for non-road mobile machinery ***I
 Refugees: social inclusion and integration into the labour market
 Social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility
 A forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment
 The fight against trafficking in human beings in the EU’s external relations

EU-Peru Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Peru on the short-stay visa waiver (12099/2015 – C8-0143/2016 – 2015/0199(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0295A8-0197/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12099/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Peru on the short-stay visa waiver (12097/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0143/2016),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2) and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0197/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of Peru.


Emission limits for non-road mobile machinery ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on requirements relating to emission limits and type-approval for internal combustion engines for non-road mobile machinery (COM(2014)0581 – C8-0168/2014 – 2014/0268(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0296A8-0276/2015

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2014)0581),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0168/2014),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 February 2015(1),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 22 April 2016 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0276/2015),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 5 July 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council on requirements relating to gaseous and particulate pollutant emission limits and type-approval for internal combustion engines for non-road mobile machinery, amending Regulations (EU) No 1024/2012 and (EU) No 167/2013, and amending and repealing Directive 97/68/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1628.)

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Refugees: social inclusion and integration into the labour market
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on refugees: social inclusion and integration into the labour market (2015/2321(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0297A8-0204/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 78 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the additional protocol thereto,

–  having regard to its resolution of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe(2),

–  having regard to the Commission Ten Point Action Plan on Migration, presented at the Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council held in Luxembourg on 20 April 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A European Agenda on Migration’ (COM(2015)0240),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 June 2016 entitled ‘Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals’ (COM(2016)0377),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (COM(2016)0378),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 June 2016 entitled ‘A new skills agenda for Europe’ (COM(2016)0381),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM(2015)0452),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (the Reception Directive),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘EU Action Plan on Return’ (COM(2015)0453),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation establishing a common ‘Return Handbook’ to be used by Member States’ competent authorities when carrying out return-related tasks (C(2015)6250),

–  having regard to the Commission communication on public procurement rules in connection with the current asylum crisis (COM(2015)0454),

–  having regard to the joint communication by the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on addressing the refugee crisis in Europe: the role of EU external action (JOIN(2015)0040),

–  having regard to the Commission Decision on the establishment of a European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (C(2015)7293),

–  having regard to the Commission communication on managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2015)0490),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2015 entitled ‘EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015-2020)’ (COM(2015)0285),

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of Regions on the European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals,

–  having regard to the Commission communication on managing the refugee crisis: state of play of the implementation of the priority actions under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2015)0510),

–  having regard to the conclusions adopted by the European Council at its meeting in June 2014, at its special meeting of 23 April 2015, at its meeting of 25 and 26 June 2015, at the informal meeting of EU heads of state or government on migration of 23 September 2015, at its meeting of 15 October 2015, and at its meetings of 17 and 18 December 2015, and of 18 and 19 February 2016,

–  having regard to the conclusions adopted by the Council on safe countries of origin at its meeting of 20 July 2015, on migration at its meeting of 20 July 2015, on the future of the return policy at its meeting of 8 October 2015, on migration at its meeting of 12 October 2015, on measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis at its meeting on 9 November 2015, and on statelessness at its meeting of 4 December 2015,

–  having regard to the conclusions adopted by the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 persons in clear need of international protection at their meeting on 20 July 2015,

–  having regard to the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan of 15 October 2015,

–  having regard to the Declaration of the High-level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans Route adopted on 8 October 2015, and to the leaders’ statement adopted at the meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkan route on 25 October 2015,

–  having regard to the action plan and political declaration adopted at the EU-Africa summit on migration, held in Valletta on 11 and 12 November 2015,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification,

–  having regard to the Joint Employment Report from the Commission and the Council accompanying the communication on the Annual Growth Survey 2016,

–  having regard to resolution 1994 (2014) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and in particular to their Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2014,

–  having regard to Article 33(1) and (2) of the 1984 UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

–  having regard to the work, annual reports and studies of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), and in particular to their studies on severe forms of labour exploitation,

–  having regard to the Policy Department A study on the Integration of Migrants and its Effects on the Labour Market, to the Policy Department C studies on the implementation of Article 80 TFEU, on new approaches, alternative avenues and means of access to asylum procedures for persons seeking international protection, on exploring new avenues for legislation for labour migration to the EU, on enhancing the common European asylum system and alternatives to Dublin, and on EU cooperation with third countries in the field of migration, to the Policy Departments A and D notes and papers on EU funds for migration policies and refugee integration: analysis of efficiency and best practice for the future, and to the Policy Department EXPO study on migrants in the Mediterranean: protecting human rights,

–  having regard to the studies by the European Migration Network (EMN), and in particular to their study on policies, practices and data on unaccompanied minors,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the International Organisation for Migration,

–  having regard to the work and reports of the European Council of Refugees and Exiles,

–  having regard to the Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions – European Agenda on Migration, adopted at its 115th plenary session of 3-4 December 2015,

–  having regard to the Opinions of 10 December 2015 of the European Economic and Social Committee on the European Agenda on Migration and on the EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling,

–  having regard to the Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 27 April 2016 on integration of refugees in the EU,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2014 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration(3),

–  having regard to the experience gained via the EQUAL programme and the lessons learned,

–  having regard to the Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU, adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2004, particularly principles 3, 5 and 7,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2013 on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour market and the external dimension of social security coordination(4),

–  having regard to the relevant Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publications, in particular ‘Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In’, ‘Making Integration Work: Refugees and others in need of protection’, and ‘A New Profile of Migrants in the Aftermath of the Recent Economic Crisis’,

–  having regard to the relevant Eurofound publications, in particular ‘Challenges of policy coordination for third-country nationals’ and ‘Approaches towards the labour market integration of refugees in the EU’,

–  having regard to the International Monetary Fund staff discussion note ‘The Refugee Surge in Europe: Economic Challenges’,

–  having regard to the Asylum Information Database Annual Report 2014-2015 entitled ‘Common Asylum System at a turning point: Refugees caught in Europe’s solidarity crisis’,

–  having regard to the UNHCR’s International Protection Considerations with regard to people fleeing the Syrian Arab Republic, update II of 22 October 2013,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on skills policies for fighting youth unemployment(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on social entrepreneurship and social innovation in combating unemployment(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2016 on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU(7),

–  having regard to the study drawn up by Parliament’s Policy Department C in February 2016 on ‘Female refugees and asylum seekers: the issue of integration’,

–  having regard to the European Tripartite Social Summit conclusions of 16 March 2016, in particular the Statement of the European Economic and Social Partners on the refugee crisis,

–  having regard to the international obligations found in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, bearing in mind the fundamental right of all children to have access to free primary education, irrespective of their gender, race, or ethnic or social origin,

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on education for children in emergency situations and protracted crises(8),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0204/2016),

A.  whereas the refugee crisis is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis, brought about, inter alia, by the destabilisation of states in the neighbourhood of the EU, having, as well, long-term impacts on its labour markets and civil society, requiring long-term and considered responses that serve to guarantee social cohesion at local level and the successful integration of newcomers in our societies;

B.  whereas the Geneva Convention came into being to protect European refugees after the Second World War, and whereas it defines who is a refugee and lays down a series of refugee rights, along with the obligations of states;

C.  whereas there are three types of legal status benefiting or potentially benefiting from international protection, i.e. people with refugee status, people seeking asylum and people benefiting from subsidiary protection; whereas social inclusion and labour market integration policies should be tailored to their specific needs;

D.  whereas there is a need to analyse the causes of the refugee crisis in order that effective and immediate action may be taken; whereas, furthermore, the main causes of the refugee crisis are conflicts, and whereas resolving them could drastically reduce the number of refugees, and make it possible for the remaining to return to their own countries;

E.  whereas the number of asylum seekers and refugees recorded in Europe in 2014 and 2015 is unprecedented, and is the result of the difficult humanitarian situation in certain countries neighbouring the EU; whereas better access to information through new technologies could help prevent traffickers and smugglers from flourishing;

F.  whereas the action plan and political declaration adopted at the EU-Africa summit on migration, held in Valletta on 11 and 12 November 2015, did not result in practical, decisive action;

G.  whereas refugees’ integration into both society and the labour market can only be achieved if there is solidarity among, and united commitment of, all Member States and their societies;

H.  whereas the working-age population in the EU is projected to decline by 7,5 million by 2020; whereas projections on the development of labour market needs in the EU point to emerging and future shortages in specific fields;

I.  whereas professional integration is a stepping stone to social inclusion;

J.  whereas the social inclusion and integration of refugees in the host societies, and in particular in their labour markets, is a dynamic, two-way process, as well as a two-dimensional one (involving rights and duties), representing a challenge and an opportunity whereby the inclusion of refugees requires concerted but distinct responsibilities and efforts on the part of the refugees themselves as well as of the Member States, their local and, where applicable, regional administrations and host communities, and requiring as well as the involvement and support of social partners, civil society and volunteer organisations;

K.  whereas successful integration requires not only inclusion in the labour market, but also access to language courses upon arrival, and to housing, education and training, social protection and healthcare, including mental health support;

L.  whereas labour market conditions within host countries are a determining factor for the successful integration of refugees; whereas unemployment in the EU, in particular youth and long-term unemployment, is still at alarming levels, and matching supply and demand on the labour market is a persistent challenge;

M.  whereas each refugee is an individual with his or her own personal background, knowledge, skills, qualifications, working and living experience, and needs that all deserve recognition; whereas refugees can undertake and generate economic activity that could bring positive return to the host communities;

N.  whereas, furthermore, 24,4 % of the total population in the EU live in risk of poverty and social exclusion, and almost 10 % are facing severe material deprivation;

O.  whereas third-country nationals face many difficulties in obtaining recognition of their skills and qualifications; whereas the recognition of qualifications from a third country goes hand in hand with screening of skills;

P.  whereas recognition of the training and qualifications of adult refugees and specific provisions for them to obtain academic qualifications and specific skills are essential for their entry into the labour market;

Q.  whereas granting refugees and asylum seekers effective access to the labour market is important to restoring their human dignity and self-worth, and is cost-efficient, and it also provides a responsible approach towards public finances, easing the cost borne by Member States and local authorities while also enabling them to become active fiscal contributors;

R.  whereas women and minors, both refugees and asylum seekers, have specific protection needs; whereas all social inclusion and labour market integration policies need to include a gender and child protection perspective;

S.  whereas, according to figures supplied by Europol in 2015, at least 10 000 unaccompanied children have disappeared after arriving in Europe;

T.  whereas forced displacements, conflicts, human rights violations and wars can have a severe impact on the physical and mental health of the people affected; whereas, in addition to this, female refugees and asylum seekers experience very high rates of gender-based violence;

U.  whereas a large proportion of asylum seekers who have arrived in Europe are facing subhuman and precarious conditions, and are living in camps without access to resources and services of sufficient quality to meet their basic needs;

V.  whereas Article 33(1) of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees stipulates that ‘No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion’;

W.  whereas Article 3(1) and (2) of the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (1984) stipulate that ‘No State Party shall expel, return (‘refouler’) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture’ ‘the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights’;

X.  whereas discrimination, along with linguistic, educational and institutional factors, is one of the most significant barriers preventing migrants in general from fully participating in the labour market and in society(9);

Y.  whereas, among the asylum seekers and refugees that arrived in the EU in 2015, half are between 18 and 34 years old, and one in four are children; whereas these children have come from conflict areas where their school attendance has been interrupted or restricted, sometimes for long periods, or from refugee camps where only a minority of them have been able to obtain any form of education or attend local schools;

Z.  whereas Directive 2003/86/EC stipulates, with regard to family reunification for refugees, that EU countries may not impose conditions relating to a minimum period of residence in the territory before refugees can be joined by their family members;

1.  Stresses the need for the EU to base its immediate response to the situation on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, as stated in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and on a holistic approach that takes into account the need to improve safe and legal migration channels, and that ensures full respect for existing laws and for fundamental European rights and values; highlights that for managing the inflow of refugees and asylum seekers it is necessary to put in place immediately a permanent relocation mechanism for all Member States;

2.  Takes note of the high degree of heterogeneity and lack of clarity in the use of the term refugee in the public and political discourse; stresses the importance of clearly identifying refugees in accordance with the legal definition enshrined in the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951, as amended by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967, and in EU legislation, in particular the Qualifications Directive (2011/95/EU)(10) as defined by Article 2 (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), and the Reception Directive as defined by Article 2 (a), (b) and (c); stresses the importance of making a clear differentiation between refugee and economic migrant for the purposes of implementing the various European and international policies;

3.  Points out that a person eligible for subsidiary protection is a third country national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee, but who likewise faces a real risk of suffering, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or a civilian facing a serious and individual threat to his or her life by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict (see Qualifications Directive);

4.  Stresses that significant differences exist in the times and modalities of processing requests for international protection within Member States; highlights that slow and excessively bureaucratic procedures may hinder refugees and asylum seekers’ access to education and training, employment guidance and the labour market, the activation of EU and Member States’ programmes, and the effective and coordinated use of funds in this field, as well as increase the refugees and asylum seekers’ vulnerability to undeclared work and precarious working conditions; points to the urgent need to establish a common asylum system to improve recognition procedures while, at the same time, ensuring the highest level of safety for refugees and European citizens; recommends that the necessary measures be taken to support those Member States which, for geographical reasons, are involved more intensively in initial reception; recognises that the length of residence permit granted (especially to those with subsidiary protection) acts as a barrier to labour market integration if it is only of relatively short duration;

5.  Calls as well for effective steps to be taken outside EU territory, both to ensure that those who are entitled can reach host countries safely and with a view to managing applications for international protection and containing undefined migration flows;

6.  Highlights the fact that in order to facilitate the social inclusion and integration of refugees into the labour market, it is necessary to develop an approach, which prescribes appropriate adaptation and presupposes cooperation, and to address a range of serious and multi-faceted issues, such as: all forms of discrimination; linguistic barriers, being the first obstacles to integration; the validation of skills; diverse socio-economic, education and cultural backgrounds; housing; health needs, including psychosocial and post-trauma support; family reunification; and the significant share of vulnerable groups among refugees, in particular worrying numbers of children, including unaccompanied children, people with disabilities, elderly persons and women(11), all of whom require responses tailored to their specific needs;

7.  Rejects the idea of creating special labour markets for refugees;

8.  Advocates that the respective national minimum wage should also remain valid for refugees;

9.  Recalls the extremely worrying situation of women in the refugee camps in Europe, and in particular their living and hygienic conditions, which are such as to warrant emergency sanitary measures; underlines that women have different healthcare needs than men because they have more exposure to multiple risks, including gender-based violence, complications in reproductive health and cultural barriers in access to health care; considers, therefore, that policies in this area cannot be gender-neutral;

10.  Points to the importance of differentiating between emergency measures and measures to be taken in the medium to long term in order to cope effectively with disparate needs;

11.  Reiterates the importance of recognising the gender dimension right from the start when processing applications for refugee status, and of acknowledging the needs of women who apply for international protection, and the specific social inclusion and labour market integration challenges that women face; calls for equal opportunities for men and women in all policies and procedures relating to social inclusion and labour market integration, and asylum and migration, bearing in mind that women take more often than men the responsibility for the care of children and of elderly, ill or otherwise dependent family members; recalls that provision of quality and accessible childcare and care for other dependants, as well as flexible working arrangements, are crucial examples of how to improve access to labour markets for all parents and enable their economic and social empowerment;

12.  Emphasises the benefits of education on social inclusion and integration into the labour market; stresses the importance of guaranteeing all refugees, in particular girls and women, access to formal, informal and non-formal education and long-life training, combined with work experience(12); calls, furthermore, for robust and transparent procedures for recognising qualifications obtained abroad, outside the European Union;

13.  Calls on the Member States to establish a language training system, closely linking general and vocational language training;

14.  Stresses the importance of a tailor-made integration approach based on equal opportunities, with the necessary attention given to the needs and specific challenges of different target groups; emphasises, in this regard, the great demand for literacy programmes;

Challenges and opportunities

15.  Believes that facilitating effective access for refugees and asylum seekers to housing, health care, education, social protection and the labour market, while guaranteeing respect for their fundamental rights and making labour markets more inclusive at local and national level, could play an important role in restoring their human dignity and self-worth, and stresses that this is also cost-efficient, as it would allow them to be self-sufficient, to gain economic independence and to contribute in a positive way to society, which is an essential step for their successful inclusion into that society, and a responsible approach towards public finances, easing the cost borne by Member States and local authorities, as it involves integrating refugees while at the same time enabling them to become active fiscal contributors, which could be considered beneficial for their individual growth, development, self-esteem, recognition in society, as well as for the society and community as a whole; points out that not all refugees arriving in the EU are able to work for reasons of health, age or other issues; recalls that the Qualifications Directive and the Reception Conditions Directive provides for the right of access to the labour market and to vocational training, both for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection;

16.  Asks the Member States to work on the implementation of the country-specific recommendations set out in the framework of the European Semester;

17.  Points out that early and continuous intervention is crucial to efforts to guarantee the social inclusion and integration of refugees into the labour market, and into local communities, as effectively as possible, which serves to diminish the risk of them later experiencing feelings of isolation, inadequacy and of not fitting in; recalls that early intervention measures could include early participation through volunteering, internships, mentoring and community engagement;

18.  Acknowledges the importance of the work of civil society and volunteer organisations providing support for the empowerment, integration and self-resilience of all asylum seekers and refugees, before and during their participation in the labour market; stresses that necessary measures should be taken to properly train those who are voluntarily engaging in the integration and education of refugees; notes the importance of establishing and building social and community networks among, and with, refugee and migrant communities in order to facilitate their access to the labour market;

19.  Highlights the fact that labour market conditions within host countries is one of the determining factors when it comes to ensuring sustainable and successful integration of refugees; is aware of the fact that refugees are heterogenic in terms of age, skills and knowledge; stresses that unemployment in the EU, in particular youth and long-term unemployment, is still at alarming levels in some countries and regions, and that the Commission and the Member States should continue to prioritise policies and investments aimed at providing quality employment for the whole of society, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable people, and on economic growth; recalls that actions to create quality employment, promote active labour markets and tackle unemployment must make sense in the local context, otherwise they will not be effective;

20.  Further points to the major disparities in social and economic circumstances within the EU; stresses the importance of taking these into account when refugees are relocated, in order to maximise their labour-market integration prospects, as they too often are first relocated to places where they cannot be integrated into the labour market;

21.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that welcoming refugees goes hand-in-hand with a solid integration policy, such as language and orientation courses, that provide comprehensive insights into fundamental EU rights and values and social inclusiveness; emphasises that language skill acquisition plays an essential role in the successful integration of refugees, in particular into the labour market; calls on the Member States to require and provide refugees, who are likely to be granted a permit and find a job in the host country, with both general and work-related comprehensive language courses; takes the view that language learning should already be provided in hot spots and reception centres;

22.  Stresses the need for an early, fair, transparent and free-of-charge assessment of refugees’ and asylum seekers’ formal and non-formal skills, as well as recognition and validation of their qualifications, with a view to facilitating their access to active labour market policies, in particular through training and employment guidance, including measures guaranteeing their access to the labour market and to non-discriminatory working conditions, and tailored measures allowing them to make full use of their potential, and to match labour supply and demand in the host countries; stresses, in this regard, the importance of strengthening the role of the European Qualifications Framework, and of promptly introducing more effective arrangements for recognising and validating qualifications, experience and skills; points out that the EU citizenry as a whole would benefit from such effective arrangements; stresses, however, that this assessment should on no account amount to a process of discrimination in relation to asylum seekers’ qualifications, and skills and potential employability should not be a criterion for decisions on asylum applications; stresses that the limited resources available should be spent carefully on the timely handling of asylum procedures and on the speedy and effective integration of refugees;

23.  Highlights the fact that public spending, covering extraordinary investments in social inclusion and labour-market integration measures and programmes, are likely to have a positive effect on national GDPs in the short term, while medium- or long-term impacts on public finances will depend on the effectiveness of these measures;

24.  Welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s decision to take into account the budgetary impact of the exceptional inflow of refugees related to extraordinary expenditures for Member States under the preventive and corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact when assessing possible temporary deviations from the SGP requirements(13);

25.  Highlights the fact that the main EU funds available for social inclusion and integration into the labour market, in particular the European Social Fund (ESF), the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), have different focuses, target groups and management modes at Member State level; stresses that these funds support targeted initiatives to improve language and professional skills, to promote access to services and to the labour market, and to support awareness campaigns targeting both host communities and migrants; recalls the importance of using integration funds for real integration measures, and reminds the Member States of the importance of the partnership principle in order to ensure effective and more coordinated use of these funds; points out, however, that the objective of labour-market integration of refugees must be reflected in greater importance being given to the European Social Fund;

26.  Stresses, as these funds are insufficient, that increased public investment and additional resources are required in order to provide, as a matter of priority, local authorities, social partners, social and economic actors, civil society and volunteer organisations with direct financial support for measures aimed at facilitating swift integration of refugees and asylum seekers into society and the labour market, not least in order to forestall social tensions, in particular in those areas where unemployment is highest;

27.  Acknowledges the Commission’s efforts to simplify and increase synergies among the available funding instruments; stresses, however, the need to further develop accessibility, complementary and transparency of these funds with a view to strengthening Member States’ reception and integration capacities of refugees and asylum seekers;

28.  Emphasises, in that connection, that the AMIF has used up all its resources; urges, therefore, that the fund be retained when the MFF is revised;

29.  Highlights the fact that the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, equal opportunities and gender equality should always be ensured when designing and implementing social inclusion and integration policies and measures;

30.  Further highlights that integration and inclusion measures aimed at refugees and asylum seekers should not draw on financial resources destined for programmes targeting other disadvantaged groups, but necessarily require additional social investments reflecting the need for additional measures; stresses, moreover, that the EU funds available should be spent in a more efficient and effective manner; calls on the Commission to take into account labour market and social situation data when designing such integration policies in order to ensure that the integration process does not worsen the social and economic situation in host regions;

31.  Calls, therefore, on the Commission to consider introducing a minimum share of 25 % of the cohesion policy budget for the ESF Fund in the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), in order to ensure adequate resources for labour market integration in the long term; calls on the Council, in the context of the forthcoming revision of the MFF, to adjust the ceilings for total allocations and for the individual headings to take account of the internal and external challenges which have arisen in connection with the refugee crisis, and to bring them into line with the needs of the Member States facing greatest integration challenge(14);

32.  Points out that in order to ensure an expedient allocation within the scope of the ESF, Member States should, where needed, adjust related national rules in order to ensure that asylum seekers are treated equally with EU and third-country nationals having access to the labour market;

Making integration work

33.  Stresses the need for strict correlation between all the legislative acts forming the EU Agenda on Migration(15) in order to ensure good management of refugees and migrants;

34.  Notes that the participation of all actors involved in society is crucial, and suggests, therefore that, while respecting the competences of Member States on integration measures, the exchange of best practice in this field should be strengthened; underlines that integration measures for all legally-residing third-country nationals should promote inclusion rather than isolation; notes that local and regional authorities, including cities, have a key role to play in integration processes;

35.  Is firmly convinced that integrating refugees into the labour market will be difficult without active, large-scale support from microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU; takes the view that appropriate authorities in the Member States should provide SMEs with comprehensive, tailored support and advice in the context of the integration of refugees into the labour market;

36.  Supports the Commission’s efforts in updating the European Agenda on Migration, in particular by revising the Dublin III Regulation in order to improve solidarity, responsibility-sharing and the harmonisation of protection standards among Member States; underlines the positive impact that mobility of refugees would have on addressing labour needs and shortages, as well as on refugees’ inclusion into the labour market, including aspects such as encouraging Member States to allow for family reunification; stresses that further efforts are necessary to create a truly uniform Common European Asylum System, and a comprehensive and sustainable legal migration policy in the EU that meets labour market demands in terms of skills, in which social inclusion and active integration policies play a central role;

37.  Deplores the fact that the Commission had to adopt 40 infringement decisions against many Member States for having failed to implement key policies of the Common European Asylum System, including letters of formal notice to 19 Member States for not having communicated measures for the transposition of the Reception Conditions Directive, which lays down essential standards on matters such as access to employment, vocational training, schooling and education of minors, food, housing, healthcare, medical and psychological care and provisions for disadvantaged persons; firmly believes that the Commission should do more to ensure that existing rules are fully and effectively implemented; urges the Member States to rectify this situation, in compliance with human rights norms and with the European principles of solidarity, fair share of responsibility and sincere cooperation, as enshrined in the Treaties;

38.  Notes President Juncker’s statement(16) in the State of the Union 2015 address affirming his support for granting asylum seekers access to the labour market while their applications are being processed; regrets, however, the lack of resolve shown by the Commission in implementing the decisions taken; is concerned at the decision taken by some Member States to close their internal borders or introduce temporary border controls, jeopardising freedom of movement within the Schengen area;

39.  Regrets the fact that the September 2015 agreement on sharing refugees among the Member States is not being implemented satisfactorily; stresses that the quotas for receiving refugees are not being met in the majority of the Member States; urges the Commission and Member States to implement the agreements as swiftly as possible, and to speed up the processes of receiving and resettling refugees;

40.  Points out that a lengthy processing of international protection applications, and a failed registration of asylum seekers at their arrival, not only impedes timely and legal access of refugees and asylum seekers to the labour market, but also generates conditions for the development of undeclared work practices and all forms of exploitation; stresses the need to support those Member States, which are in the front line in managing registrations of asylum seekers;

41.  Stresses that access to justice and protection should be ensured to all victims of exploitation and discrimination; highlights the crucial work done by social partners, civil society, local authorities, economic and social actors and volunteer organisations in reaching out to these workers, and in providing them with information, in particular about their rights and duties and the protection to which they are entitled, and with the support they need, also taking into account the possible temporary nature of the refugees’ stay;

42.  Highlights the importance of avoiding the formation of ghettos in order to secure the effective integration of refugees into society;

43.  Welcomes the establishment of a ‘Skills Profile Tool’ for third-country nationals in the framework of the Commission’s ‘New skills agenda for Europe’, aimed at strengthening early identification and documentation of the skills and qualifications of third-country nationals, introducing a guide on best practices to support labour market integration in Member States and improving online language learning for newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers through the Erasmus + online language courses;

44.  Welcomes the Commission’s ‘Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals’, addressing pre-departure and pre-arrival measures, education, employment and vocational training, access to basic services, active participation and social inclusion;

Recommendations and best practices

45.  Calls on the Member States to ensure swift and full labour-market integration and social inclusion of refugees, in accordance with the principle of equal treatment, the national labour market situation and EU and national legislation, and to inform them about, and grant them access to, public services, in particular access to housing, healthcare and social protection, integration courses, language-learning modules and other educational and training measures;

46.  Calls on the Commission to consider a targeted revision of the Reception Conditions Directive in order to ensure that applicants of international protection have access to the labour market as soon as possible after their applications were lodged; urges the Commission to promote upward convergence of social protection standards and a swift delivery of work permits in the Member States;

47.  Calls on the Commission to intensify its efforts to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are granted effective access to the labour market, in particular by verifying that Member States do not impose too restrictive conditions for access to employment, which would render the access to employment unduly difficult; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to cut red tape in order to make it easier for employable persons to enter the labour market; points out that such actions would be both conducive to the integration of refugees and, more generally, to the benefit of EU citizens;

48.  Encourages the Member States to shorten the processing time of applications for international protection, with due regard for the rights of the individuals concerned and without compromising the quality of the decision making, to assess levels of education and qualifications at initial reception facilities and, thus, to extend, on a more targeted basis, early intervention measures such as language training, skills assessment and civic integration courses, including courses on European fundamental rights, values and culture, in particular to those asylum seekers who have good prospects of being granted international protection, and urges that there be equal access to these measures; urges the Commission to support Member States with specific and effective measures that help streamline the processing of applications;

49.  Calls on the Member States to ensure early, easy and equal access for refugees and asylum seekers to training, including internships and apprenticeships, in order to ensure rapid, effective and full integration into our societies and the labour market, including by equipping them with the necessary skills to build a new future on their return; stresses that this should be done in the form of initiatives taken jointly with the private sector, trade unions and civil society; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to recognise and validate refugees’ existing skills, and formal and non-formal competences, talents and know-how, on an individual basis; recalls that the first barrier that refugees have to overcome is language; recommends, therefore, effective measures that enable them not only to learn and understand the language of the host country, but also to promote a process of mutual familiarisation between different cultures in order to avoid the spread of xenophobic and racist sentiments;

50.  Calls for a DG EMPL task force to be set up at the Commission in order to devise, as quickly as possible, pan-European standards for soft skills, as well as methods for cataloguing them;

51.  Welcomes solutions providing multilingual information on opportunities involving formal and non-formal education, vocational training, work placement and volunteering for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; calls, therefore, for such services to be extended;

52.  Highlights that innovative instruments based on new media, such as social media and apps, could play a pivotal role in facilitating access to services, as well as exchanges of information, regarding refugees’ registration, skills assessment, job-searches and language training, as well as in providing direct assistance to people in need; further encourages Member States to set up dedicated platforms and multilingual internet portals aimed at providing concise and easily accessible information about recognition possibilities, existing integration programmes and lists of the institutions responsible, recalling that every EU and EEA Member State has a designated National Academic Recognition Information Centre, which provides a way to compare academic qualifications; encourages the Member States, in this context, to promote this service;

53.  Draws attention to the range of training possibilities and models available in the Member States and, in particular, to the combined vocational education and training model, which is unknown or virtually unknown in some Member States and to refugees and asylum seekers, but which can make a major contribution to the integration of refugees into the labour market and society by smoothing the transition from education and training to employment, as a result of which workers can also be trained in skilled professions in which there is a shortage of new entrants;

54.  Calls on the Commission to propose guidelines on how refugees’ existing qualifications and skills can be recognised; points out, in this connection, that, in many instances, training, and the process of acquiring qualifications in refugees’ countries of origin, are not up to European standards; suggests that the Commission draw up recommendations enabling Member States to identify refugees’ skills, competences, talents and know-how more easily, more quickly and more effectively; points, in this connection, to the differences between labour markets in the Member States, and to their differing needs, and hopes that, by taking this into account, manpower requirements in some areas can be met more speedily, more easily and more efficiently and that, at the same time, refugees are integrated faster into the labour market;

55.  Calls on the Commission to consider a revision of the Blue Card Directive;

56.  Stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts to combat all forms of discrimination, xenophobia and racism, including by raising awareness of anti-discrimination laws, by supporting local authorities, civil society organisations, social partners and National Equality Bodies in their work, and by stepping up their communication efforts vis-à-vis the media and citizens in the EU to combat any disinformation or xenophobia, which are contrary to fundamental European values, all of which efforts will greatly assist refugees’ social acceptance and inclusion; encourages Member States to use funding from the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme to provide training on diversity, and to educate and inform refugees and migrants entering the labour market of their legal rights as workers, helping them avoid falling victim to exploitative practices or employers; stresses that multiple discrimination should be taken into account throughout all migration and integration policies;

57.  Welcomes the joint statement of 16 March 2016 on the refugee crisis issued by the social partners participating in the Tripartite Social Summit, in which they underline their commitment and willingness to work with governments and other stakeholders to design and develop policies to support inclusion; is of the opinion that the social partners and civil society organisation are irreplaceable intermediaries that have a major role to play in the inclusion of refugees in the labour market and in society as a whole; encourages the Commission to enhance the dialogue with social partners, based on a balanced representation of interests, with a view to identifying labour market and employment opportunities for refugees;

58.  Calls on the Member States to learn from and facilitate the sharing of the experience and practices accumulated at city level to promote inclusive labour markets for all residents, including beneficiaries of international protection, and to involve cities and local authorities in the design and implementation of social and economic inclusion policies; takes the view that a more effective partnership is needed between the different levels of government, and that EU and national initiatives must complement and strengthen city actions, targeting the real needs of our citizens; believes that Member State good practices – in effective coordination with, and involving, cities – should be acknowledged and given visibility;

59.  Considers it necessary that adequate training on employment legislation and non-discrimination is provided to refugees as well as to authorities, in order to ensure that refugees are not exploited by means of undeclared work practices and other forms of severe labour exploitation, or that they suffer discrimination in the workplace;

60.  Calls on the Commission to provide financial support to transnational schemes ensuring the transferability and adaptability of good practices – such as the peer-to-peer mentoring and coaching projects involving all levels of governance and multiple stakeholders, designed and implemented by different stakeholders at EU level – and to ensure their effective implementation on the ground;

61.  Calls on Member States to implement the Framework Decision on Combatting Racism and Xenophobia and the new Victims of Crime Directive, as well as to ensure the timely investigation and prosecution of any incitement to violence, including gender-based violence, against migrants and asylum seekers, irrespective of their residence status;

62.  Highlights increasing levels of hate speech, anti-migrant sentiments and xenophobic violence on the part of both institutions and individuals;

63.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to intensify diplomatic relations, and to take all necessary economic and social measures, to allow the stabilisation of the countries of origin of refugees so that they can remain in their own countries or return to them;

64.  Calls for monies to be redeployed as quickly as possible within the ESF, the AMIF, the ERDF and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) so that those Member States bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis are given more effective support;

Culture, education and sport

65.  Stresses the urgent need to ensure that unaccompanied minors receive particular protection from exploitation at work, violence and trafficking; underlines the need for mentors and specific measures for girls in particular, who are often more vulnerable and exposed to various forms of exploitation, trafficking and sexual abuse, and are more likely to be deprived of educational opportunities;

66.  Calls on the Commission to increase the profile of culture, education and training in those operational measures undertaken as part of the European Agenda on Migration; invites the Commission to adopt a specific policy on intercultural dialogue;

67.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to give priority to integration through early targeted measures on education, training, culture and sport, as well as to the challenges faced by host societies in guaranteeing, in particular, children’s right to education, regardless of their refugee status, as set out in Article 22 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, thus giving priority to the best interests of the child;

68.  Insists on the need for an exhaustive analysis, through studies, research and statistics, on the basis of which the best suggestions for policy initiatives and action can be made with a view to ascertaining what the education strategy should be for refugees, specifically as regards adult learning, in light of their current qualifications;

69.  Stresses the crucial role of free public education, culture, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, non-formal and informal education, lifelong learning, and youth and sports policy in fostering the integration and social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, as well as the understanding and solidarity of the host countries in combating racism, xenophobia and extremism, and in contributing to building more cohesive and inclusive societies based on cultural diversity, the promotion of common European values and the protection of fundamental rights; underlines the need to ensure cultural and linguistic mediation while refugees and asylum seekers are developing knowledge of the host country’s language and cultural and social values;

70.  Underlines the important role of sport as an instrument for fostering social and intercultural dialogue by promoting the establishment of positive links between the local population and refugees and asylum seekers, and calls on the European institutions and the Member States to implement programmes aimed at the social integration of refugees through joint cultural or sporting activities; supports, therefore, the existing initiatives of sports organisations, and encourages the exchange of best practices between different entities engaged in sports activities aimed at the social integration of refugees;

71.  Deeply regrets the current disappearance of cultural networks owing to the new orientation of Creative Europe;

72.  Emphasises the need for effective procedures to enable a smooth transition between the educational facilities available in refugee camps and the educational systems of the Member States in which they are located;

73.  Insists on the need for Member States to facilitate the enrolment of refugee students at all educational levels, and calls for greater efforts to be made to distribute pupils and place them effectively in national school systems;

74.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to establish ‘education corridors’ by promoting agreements with European universities and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) to host refugee students coming from conflict areas, in order to facilitate their access and to promote peer support and volunteering; welcomes the initiatives adopted in this regard by a number of European universities and their partnerships;

75.  Welcomes the European and national programmes, and the private initiatives launched by non-profit institutions, providing assistance to migrant academics in science and other professional areas, and advocates their development and support;

76.  Calls on the Member States, in order to ensure that integration begins immediately, to guarantee solutions for practice-oriented, understandable preparatory educational information in several languages;

77.  Calls on the Member States to provide targeted support to refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people as they enter the school system, such as through intensive language courses and general induction programmes, including pedagogical support, to allow them to participate in mainstream classes as soon as possible; stresses the need to respond to the distinct needs and vulnerabilities of specific groups, in particular unaccompanied minors and adults without basic education;

78.  Reminds the EU and the Member States of their duty to ensure special protection for minors, including refugee children, in emergency situations, in line with international provisions, and, in particular, to guarantee their access to schools and educational facilities; welcomes the target of 4 % funding for education of the EU’s overall humanitarian aid budget for 2016, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue to advocate, at international level, an increase in funding for education in emergencies within existing aid programmes, in view of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016;

79.  Recommends that supplementary language classes be provided to refugee children in their home-country languages;

80.  Stresses the importance of launching educational support actions, in particular with a view to providing suitable facilities in EU hotspots and hubs, that underpin the efforts of humanitarian organisations and NGOs that have already begun to organise educational and other activities in the camps, and of providing incentives and support for the development of formal educational structures in refugee camps, including those located in third countries;

81.  Welcomes the new calls for proposals dedicated to cultural, educational, sports and youth mobility programmes and projects aimed at intercultural dialogue, cultural and social inclusion and integration under Creative Europe and Erasmus+; stresses the need to break down obstacles and existing barriers to the application of projects aimed at the integration of refugees and to facilitate access to the programmes for all;

82.  Asks the Member States to promote initiatives to ensure greater cooperation, policy coherence and dialogue among public authorities, appropriate NGOs, social partners, civil society organisations and refugee communities in order to enhance mutual knowledge and understanding and to evaluate further potential initiatives to ensure equal access to high-quality education, thus integrating migrants and refugees into a positive learning environment;

83.  Stresses the essential role of teachers in integrating refugee and migrant children and young people into the education system, and emphasises the need for specialised teaching staff and advanced training for teachers to qualify them; calls, in this context, for the EU and the Member States to consider establishing cooperation channels for teachers so that they can share their experiences, exchange best practices and receive peer support;

84.  Calls on the Member States to help migrant teachers and professors find teaching jobs, with a view both to improve their situation and to put their language and teaching skills and experience to good use in the school systems;

85.  Supports the idea of setting up helpdesks for teachers that offer timely support in handling various types of diversity in the classroom, and in promoting intercultural dialogue and guidance when they are confronted with conflicts or students at risk of being radicalised; calls, moreover, on the Member States to extend opportunities of political education, and to provide appropriate further training opportunities and educational materials, as a means of clarifying why people flee and of combating extremism;

86.  Stresses the importance of schools in providing counselling, and linguistic and cultural mediation, including as regards democratic values through civic education and active citizenship programmes, and playing a key role in accelerating and ensuring the social and cultural inclusion and integration not only of the students, but also of their families;

87.  Welcomes the Council’s decision to dedicate specific actions in the 2015-2018 Work Plan for Culture on the role of culture, the arts and intercultural dialogue in the integration of migrants, and to take stock of existing good practices in the Member States;

88.  Stresses that the use of the arts as an integration tool should be promoted in a better way, and that the participation of refugees in arts activities should be facilitated and enhanced;

89.  Welcomes the new Expert Working Group on intercultural dialogue and integration of migrants and refugees through arts and dialogue(17) established by the Commission, which is expected to publish a handbook of good practices by the end of 2017;

90.  Emphasises the importance of promoting and further developing educational apps, videos and exercises, as well as learning platforms for refugees, in order to facilitate and complement their education and training;

o
o   o

91.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0176.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0317.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0105.
(4) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 91.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0008.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0320.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0073.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0418.
(9) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/518768/IPOL-EMPL_NT%282014%29518768_EN.pdf
(10) OJ L 337, 20.12.2011, p. 9.
(11) http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/making-integration-work-humanitarian-migrants_9789264251236-en
(12) See Texts adopted of 8.3.2016, P8_TA(2016)0073.
(13) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6067_en.htm
(14) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20131118IPR25534/MEPs-approve-new-cohesion-policy-%E2%82%AC325bn-to-invest-in-Europe’s-regions
(15) COM(2015)0240.
(16) http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I107934
(17) http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14444-2015-INIT/en/pdf


Social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on implementation of the 2010 recommendations of Parliament on social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility (2015/2038(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0298A8-0217/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 6 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 11, 153, 191, 207 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 12, 21, 28, 29, 31 and 32 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication: Trade for all: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy (COM(2015)0497),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10)(1),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement (30 November to 11 December 2015)(2),

–  having regard to the EU annual report on human rights and democracy in the world (2014)(3),

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) –Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda,

–  having regard to the Guidelines on the analysis of human rights impacts in impact assessments for trade-related policy initiatives(4),

–  having regard to the study on ‘Human rights and democracy clauses in international agreements’ published in 2015 by the European Parliament Policy Department,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our World: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development(5),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences(7),

–  having regard to the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises(8),

–  having regard to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas(9),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 14 July 2015 on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – State of Play (SWD(2015)0144),

–  having regard to the Commission’s 2011 Communication on ‘A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility’ (COM(2011)0681),

–  having regard to the UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (2015)(10),

–  having regard to the study ‘The EU’s Trade Policy: from gender-blind to gender-sensitive?’ from the European Parliament Policy Department,

–  having regard to the Fourth Report of the Independent Expert on ‘The promotion of a democratic and equitable international order’ – note by the UN Secretary-General to the General Assembly of 5 August 2015 (A/70/285),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international agreements(11),

–  having regard to UN resolution 64/292, in which water and sanitation are explicitly acknowledged as human rights by the United Nations General Assembly and it is stated that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on the follow-up to the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Water(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(14),

–  having regard to the study on ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Committees and Delegations of the European Parliament’, published in 2014 by European Parliament Policy Department C,

–  having regard to Human Rights Council resolution 26/9(15), whereby it decided ‘to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises’,

–  having regard to the EU’s reformed Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) set out by Regulation (EU) No 978/2012,

–  having regard to the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Report on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences during the period 2014-2015’ (COM(2016)0029),

–  having regard to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the revised OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the framework of the International Integrated Reporting Council, the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility,

–  having regard to France’s draft law on ‘due diligence’ advancing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the statement made by President Juncker at the 2015 G7 summit,

–  having regard to the project ‘Realising Long-term Value for Companies and Investors’, being undertaken in the framework of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UN Global Compact,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0217/2016),

A.  whereas Parliament issued recommendations to the Commission relating to social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility in 2010; whereas a number of these recommendations have been implemented, while others have not;

B.  whereas Parliament acts as a co-legislator with respect to measures defining the framework for implementing the Union’s CCP; whereas Parliament’s consent is required for the ratification of every trade agreement negotiated by the Union; whereas the implementation of Parliament’s recommendations is therefore necessary to ensure the success of any initiative undertaken by the Commission in the field of the CCP;

C.  whereas trade plays a powerful role in promoting business opportunities, creating prosperity and increasing employment, as well as in driving economic development, social progress, living standards, quality of life and the long-term improvement of human rights standards;

D.  whereas the EU underlines its firm commitment to promote sustainable development as reaffirmed in its ‘Trade for All’ strategy, as well as human rights and good governance, through incentive-based means such as GSP+ and preferential market access provisions in countries committed to implementing core international conventions in those areas;

E.  whereas the EU has the ability to contribute positively to greater respect for human rights (HR) and sustainable development globally through its trade policy; whereas the Commission has to pursue its actions with this objective in mind; whereas trade and investment agreements have an effect on human rights and sustainable development, and should therefore be designed in such a way as to support social and environmental progress, guaranteeing that European standards cannot be compromised, safeguarding human rights and ensuring compliance with social and environmental rules;

F.  whereas trade and foreign investment by international undertakings contribute to an increased commitment to human rights, social rights and workers’ rights in the countries where the undertakings operate;

G.  whereas Parliament’s contribution can be measured in terms of the effective implementation of its recommendations; whereas the implementation of the agreements must be monitored periodically to ensure compliance with the objectives and commitments enshrined in trade agreements, particularly those on protecting human rights;

H.  whereas, according to Article 208 of the TFEU, the EU and its Member States actually have a legal obligation to make their policies coherent with development objectives;

I.  whereas the Commission’s proposal for a new trade and investment strategy – ‘Trade for All’ – recognises the link between trade, human rights and social and environmental standards, and insists on the need to make those rights and standards an integral part of the Union’s economic and commercial relations;

J.  whereas transnational global retailers and enterprises have a responsibility in improving labour conditions and wages in producer countries;

K.  whereas women’s rights are a constitutive part of HR; whereas gender equality falls within the scope of the chapters of trade agreements on sustainable development; whereas the specific impact of trade and investment agreements affects women and men differently owing to structural gender inequalities, and whereas sustainable and inclusive development, growth and trade agreements must include HR, including from a gender perspective;

L.  whereas the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda recognises the crucial impact of trade policies in implementing its goals by covering a number of policy areas such as rules of origin, food regulations, commodity markets and gender equality;

M.  whereas the potential of the GSP and GSP+ system to ensure the ratification and implementation of human and labour rights conventions in developing countries can be improved by linking economic incentives to the effective adoption and constant monitoring of the implementation of core human and labour rights conventions;

N.   whereas, following the Rana Plaza disaster, the EU, in cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh and the ILO, launched a Global Compact for Improvements in Labour Rights and Factory Safety in Bangladesh that seeks to improve labour, health and safety conditions for workers; whereas these efforts have led to greater public awareness as well as innovative solutions to tackle issues related to TSD, such as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh;

O.  whereas the private sector must contribute, alongside the public sector, to sustainable development; whereas companies must act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner; whereas the EU’s new generation of trade and investment agreements comprise chapters on sustainable development that call on the parties to undertake to protect human rights, comply with social and environmental standards and ensure corporate social responsibility; whereas such chapters have displayed differences in their level of ambition in successive EU trade agreements; whereas the Commission is encouraged to pursue the highest level of ambition;

P.  whereas the Commission’s 2015 ‘Trade for All’ strategy makes TSD a priority for the EU; whereas in order for this strategy to give proper impetus to the TSD agenda, the Commission must now turn its much welcomed ambition into resolute and concrete action;

Q.  whereas the ‘Realising Long-term Value for Companies and Investors’ project being undertaken by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Global Compact demonstrate that economic recovery in Europe and the world is compatible with, and mutually reinforcing to, principles of social justice, environmental sustainability and respect for human rights;

R.  whereas Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that the EU’s common commercial policy will be conducted in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union’s external action;

S.  whereas Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) reaffirms that the EU’s external actions will be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and compliance with the UN Charter and international law;

T.  whereas the link between trade and human rights on the one hand and social and environmental standards on the other has become an integral part of the EU’s economic and commercial relations; whereas the EU’s human rights and democracy policy in third countries should continue to be mainstreamed through other EU policies having an external dimension, including trade policy; whereas the EU should use trade policy to further the aim of setting high global standards in the areas of human and social rights, consumer protection and environmental issues;

U.  whereas trade policy and ambitious trade agreements are promoting and strengthening the global rules-based trading system; whereas human rights issues should also be taken into account prior to concluding trade negotiations in a sound and transparent manner; whereas the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, together with all other relevant instruments including the promotion of corporate social responsibility, aim at fostering human rights provisions in relation to trade policy;

V.  whereas on 26 June 2014 the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the establishment of an intergovernmental working group with the task of launching a process leading to the introduction of an international legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises in the framework of international law;

W.  whereas trade and human rights may reinforce each other, and the business community, while obliged to respect human rights, may also have an important role to play in offering positive incentives in terms of promoting human rights, democracy, environmental standards and corporate responsibility; whereas the EU has played a leading role in negotiating and implementing a number of initiatives for global responsibility which go hand in hand with the promotion and respect of international standards, among others social justice, environmental sustainability and respect for human rights; whereas the long-term positive impact on human rights of European businesses operating globally and leading by example through a non-discriminatory corporate culture is acknowledged; whereas strengthening trade relations based on the protection and enforcement of human rights enhances mutual understanding and common values such as the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights;

General principles

1.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to incorporate a gender-mainstreaming approach into all their policies, including trade policy, and to guarantee inter alia effective compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); calls on the Commission to take aspects related to gender equality into account in its impact assessment of the EU trade strategy, in respect of women’s rights, and calls on the Commission to assess existing trade and investment agreements systematically in order to identify their consequences on gender equality;

2.  Calls on the Commission to ensure greater coherence with respect to development, to ensure effective policy assessment and coordination between development aid and trade policy, and to strive to ensure that all stakeholders comply with international standards on human rights, gender equality, labour law and respect for the environment;

3.  Calls on the EU to play an active role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 70th session;

4.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to promote binding measures to ensure that companies pay taxes where economic activities take place and value is created, to promote compulsory country-by-country reporting by the private sector as recommended by the OECD, and to promote good governance notably in tax matters and effective tax collection; calls furthermore on the Commission and Member States to ensure that this issue is given priority on the agenda in its policy dialogue (at political level on development and on trade) and to support the role of civil society in ensuring public scrutiny of tax governance and monitoring of cases concerning tax fraud; believes that a business’s tax policy should be considered part and parcel of CSR and consequently that socially responsible behaviour leaves no room for strategies aimed at evading tax or exploiting tax havens;

5.  Recognises that access to common goods such as water, healthcare and education is an important reflection of a country’s capacity to guarantee human and social rights;

6.   Stresses that the EU’s long-term record in accounting for social and environmental issues within the context of its trade diplomacy is already ahead of other major global trade players; underlines that the human rights engagements of our trading partners provide a solid basis for ongoing dialogue, cooperative processes and progressive improvements in the long-term;

7.  Stresses the importance of trade and foreign investment as important tools to achieve economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and the protection of human rights;

8.   Recalls that trade and foreign direct investment increase prosperity in poorer countries; recalls that there is a by no means negligible connection between increased prosperity and better protection of human rights, social rights and workers’ rights and strong environmental protection;

9.  Recalls that the EU is committed to the coherent promotion of and respect for human rights and democracy in its relations with third countries in all its policies, including trade policy, and in all its relevant external financing instruments;

10.  Recommends, therefore, that the EU’s trade strategy be a tool for the promotion of democratic values in third countries; welcomes, therefore, the enhancement of trade agreements and trade preference programmes as levers to promote human rights, eliminate forced and child labour, and ensure food security and the rights to health, sustainable development and high safety and environmental standards, as well as economic opportunities for all;

Human rights, environmental and social standards at multilateral level

11.  Stresses how important it is for the EU to build cooperation at multilateral level and therefore reiterates its call to the Commission to take a leading role in the reform of WTO governance, in particular with respect to achieving the following objectives:

   (a) to strengthen effective cooperation and regular dialogue between the WTO and the relevant UN agencies, notably the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Conference for Trade and Development and the International Labour Organisation, in particular by granting the ILO observer status in the WTO and by involving it in trade disputes related to breaches of international human rights and labour conventions; considers that the ILO should continue to be involved in bilateral, multilateral and plurilateral trade agreements,
   (b) to reform WTO trade policy review mechanisms to include the social, environmental and HR dimensions based on the ILO, UN human rights and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) guidelines, and to promote sustainable development, in particular through the setting up of a Committee on Trade and Decent Work at the WTO alongside the existing Committee on Trade and Environment, as requested in its recommendations of 2010,
   (c) to assess the extent to which the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment has fulfilled its remit as set out in the WTO Ministerial Decision on Trade and Environment taken at Marrakesh on 15 April 1994 and its conclusions as to what more needs to be done, particularly in the context of the global dialogue on climate change mitigation and adaptation and the WTO, as originally requested by Parliament,
   (d) to engage constructively in the UN Working Group for a treaty process on business and human rights following the study on dealing with gross corporate violations of human rights through judicial remedy which was conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;

12.  Calls on the Commission to actively promote further reforms of the WTO in order to define multilateral rules for the sustainable management of global supply chains in a responsible way, which should in particular include:

   (a) effective and enforceable supply chain due diligence and transparency requirements, building from the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights,
   (b) health and safety standards, recognising in particular the right of workers to safety committees,
   (c) a social protection floor,
   (d) respect for ILO core labour standards;

13.  Reiterates its request to ensure that any measure adopted by a Party in the framework of the Paris Agreement or relating to any of the principles or commitments contained in Articles 3 and 4 of the UNFCCC will be secured also by providing legally sounder protection of the right to regulate in trade agreements;

14.  Urges the Commission to speed up progress towards the development of schemes differentiating among products according to their process and production methods (PPMs) and sustainability criteria within the framework of trade agreements;

15.  Calls on Member States to step up their efforts to honour their commitment to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels in line with the G20 commitment;

16.  Believes that trade policy could make a greater contribution towards energy transition and that EU trade instruments should foster the emergence and development of renewable energies and the development of green goods and technologies in Europe; acknowledges the Commission’s efforts to negotiate a plurilateral agreement on green goods (the Environmental Goods Agreement – EGA) and calls for these negotiations to produce an ambitious and balanced agreement; asks the Commission, in the framework of the EGA negotiations, to develop quantitative or qualitative criteria to identify ‘green goods’ and to promote a credible and transparent methodology in the EGA negotiations; further calls on the Commission to take due account of factors influencing trade in green goods, such as anti-dumping policies in the renewable energy sector, intellectual property regimes, tight financing programmes and national environmental policies that create the demand for such goods;

Human rights, environmental and social standards at bilateral level

17.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision to carry out ex ante and ex post sustainability impact assessments (SIAs) for all trade agreements in accordance with the ‘Guidelines on the analysis of human rights impact assessments for trade-related policy initiatives’; calls, in this regard, on the Commission:

   (a) to apply the guidelines in developing SIAs for all current and future negotiations,
   (b) to also reflect in these SIAs the guiding principles developed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food,
   (c) to take into account the impact of trade and investment agreements on particularly vulnerable people such as those who belong to a minority group, or are geographically isolated, poor or socially excluded; draws attention also, in this connection, to the commitment given by the Commission to assess the impact of free-trade agreements on the EU’s outermost regions,
   (d) to ensure proper involvement of SCOs and social partners in the development of SIAs and to involve Parliament at every stage in this process,
   (e) to take the findings of such assessments fully into account during negotiations,
   (f) to ensure the timely publication of SIAs in order to inform negotiating positions before they are formulated, to inform the public and to enable elected representatives to properly assess any proposed agreement;

18.  Acknowledges the conclusions of the European Ombudsman concerning the Commission decision to finalise the agreement with Vietnam before the conclusion of the human rights impact assessment and urges the Commission to conduct that assessment at the earliest opportunity on the basis of the new methodology in order to allow Parliament to take an informed decision;

19.  Reiterates its support for human rights conditionality in trade agreements and recalls the importance of respecting and implementing human rights clauses; welcomes the Commission and Council’s efforts to insert such legally binding HR clauses into all trade and investment agreements in accordance with the common approach and requests the publication of the Council’s common approach; notes that HR clauses have not been included in all EU agreements and calls for the ongoing trade negotiations with the EU’s other partners, particularly those on TTIP, to ensure the inclusion of a legally binding human rights clause;

20.   Considers however that current clauses have had a limited impact on the fulfilment of HR obligations and commitments; calls therefore on the Commission and the Council to implement the following adjustments:

   (a) the inclusion of trade safeguard provisions to preserve each agreement party’s capacity to meet its HR obligations in the areas in which it is primarily responsible in cases of proven breaches of the provisions of the human rights clauses,
   (b) regular in-depth monitoring of the implementation of human rights clauses in trade and association agreements, in particular through the publication of regular joint reports from the Commission and the EEAS to Parliament on partner countries’ respect for human rights and through the establishment of an inter-institutional committee,
   (c) to consider the inclusion of a committee for human rights in all EU trade agreements in order to ensure serious and systematic follow-up on human rights issues in relation to the agreement; recalls in this connection the importance of involving the public in negotiations to ensure transparency,
   (d) to ensure that the EU has a domestic legal remedies system which permits complaints in cases of non-respect of trade agreements and human rights clauses;

21.  Recalls the request made in its recommendations of 2010 that each EU trade agreement, whether bilateral or plurilateral, should include comprehensive, enforceable and ambitious Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters; highlights the discrepancies displayed by TSD chapters in the various EU trade agreements; calls therefore on the Commission to uphold the highest level of consistency in all trade negotiations and to introduce TSD chapters with the following features:

   (a) a commitment by each of the parties to ratify and to effectively implement the eight core and four priority ILO Conventions as well as the international multilateral environmental agreements,
   (b) coverage of human rights clauses and TSD chapters by the general dispute settlement on an equal footing with the other parts of the agreement as requested in the 2010 recommendations to ensure compliance with human rights and social and environmental standards,
   (c) the possibility to appeal and seek redress through a complaints procedure for social partners and civil society,
   (d) effective deterrent measures, including in the form of monetary remedies, in the event of serious, proven breaches of the provisions of the agreement’s chapter on sustainable development; such measures could be implemented through a temporary slowing down, reduction or even suspension of certain trade benefits provided under the agreement in the event of an aggravated, continuous breach of these standards as a measure of last resort, and the introduction of action plans with our partners could help remedy non-compliance with certain commitments made in trade and investment agreements;

22.  Reiterates its request for sustainable development forums or advisory groups to be set up at the various stages of drafting, negotiating and implementing an agreement; recalls the need for all Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs) to be fully independent and to have access to adequate resources; takes notes of the criticisms often voiced by some participants in DAGs set up by the EU under existing trade agreements that their deliberations have no practical impact and proposes that the Commission implement the following measures:

   (a) to set up a reporting system that enables Parliament to assess the work of the advisory groups,
   (b) to respond systematically in a concrete manner to concerns raised by EU DAGs and to follow up on initiatives proposed by EU SCOs and social partners in this framework,
   (c) to lay out basic logistical provisions in TSD chapters to enable effective implementation, as these aspects have in some cases proven to be serious hurdles, as well as related accompanying measures such as technical assistance and cooperation programmes;

23.  Calls for increased transparency and accountability for grassroots organisations in the formulation of international trade rules and national trade policies, while ensuring consistency with regard to respect for workers’ rights and human rights, including women’s rights;

24.  Calls on the Commission to involve Parliament more closely in the process of monitoring the implementation of trade and investment agreements with regard to compliance with human rights and social and environmental standards and calls on the Council to consult Parliament on any decisions to revise or even suspend the application of an agreement if this is necessary;

Human rights, environmental and social standards at unilateral level

25.  Welcomes the entry into force of the new Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) (Regulation (EU) No 978/2012) on 1 January 2014 and the publication of the first GSP monitoring report for the period 2014-2015; takes the view that trade policy must be a way to encourage the EU’s partner countries to adopt higher social and environmental standards and therefore calls on the Commission to implement the following corrective measures:

   (a) to clarify, either through a delegated act or through the forthcoming revision of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, the definitions of a ‘serious failure to effectively implement’ an international convention and ‘serious and systematic violation of principles’ contained in an international convention,
   (b) to seek the views of all relevant monitoring bodies in order to better assess compliance with the international conventions referred to in the GSP Regulation; in particular to focus its assessment on the views expressed by the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions, with respect to both granting and suspending trade preferences in accordance with the GSP Regulation,
   (c) to enhance, in the forthcoming revision of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, the monitoring of commitments undertaken by beneficiary countries; social partners and CSOs should be given a formal role in GSP and GSP+ monitoring, in particular through a procedure to hear and respond to concerns addressed to the Commission,
   (d) to also include in the revision, as requested in 2010, CSR in the GSP Regulation in order to ensure compliance by transnational corporations with national and international legal obligations in the areas of human rights, labour standards and environmental rules,
   (e) to monitor and assess developments related to the implementation and effectiveness of the Everything But Arms (EBA) and standard GSP arrangements and to report back to the European Parliament;

26.  Supports the commitment made by the Commission to work towards the elimination of child labour; welcomes the adoption of a Staff Working Document and reiterates its request from 2010 for a balanced and realistic proposal for legislation, including measures such as labelling child-labour-free products, trade preferences given to countries that meet certain labour standards and horizontal import prohibitions for products made using child labour; stresses the importance of including the objective of combating forced labour and child labour in TSD chapters of EU trade agreements alongside the other 6 fundamental ILO conventions, as well as the EU’s engagement in international discussions at the WTO, OECD and ILO level to advance its multilateral dimension;

27.  Confirms its opposition to any direct or indirect provision affecting trade in energy-related services that would allow for technological neutrality of subsidies; calls on the Commission and Member States to take serious account of the fact that the rising CO2 emissions from international trade undermine the European Climate Strategy, and emphasises that shifting to local production and consumption patterns can contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement´s objectives;

28.  Recalls the intrinsic link between climate change and deforestation caused by unsustainable and illegal commodities extraction; calls on the Commission to guarantee the effective implementation and enforcement of FLEGT and EUTR, including the obligation to legality in timber supply chains;

29.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision to initiate a feasibility study for a European Action Plan on Deforestation and Forest Degradation;

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

30.  Recalls Parliament’s request from 2010 to include CSR in all EU trade agreements and provisions for greater enforcement, notably the possibility for the Commission to carry out investigations into alleged breaches of CSR commitments and the development of EU contact points building on and strengthening the OECD contact points; asks the Commission to step up its efforts towards achieving compliance by companies, throughout their supply chains, and full respect for ILO core labour standards and internationally recognised CSR standards, in particular the recently updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in particular in the clothing and extractive industries, in which the risks of human rights and social standards infringements are more common; draws attention to the Sustainability Compact launched by the Commission together with Bangladesh, the ILO and the United States following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013; stresses the importance of continuing to pursue the pact’s sustainability objectives in order to improve workers’ rights, as well as the need for more responsible management of supply chains at international level; calls on the Commission to pursue similar programmes and measures with other EU trade partners;

31.  Believes it is crucial to continue efforts to adhere to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, ensuring that the Guidelines are specifically cited in all new agreements between the EU and third countries and moving from a ‘passive’ to an ‘active’ approach as regards their implementation; calls on the Commission to ensure transparency with regard to access to information on the conduct of enterprises and to introduce an effective and enforceable reporting system which provides information on product value chains; recalls its position from 2010 to request companies to publish their CSR balance sheets and all undertakings to show due diligence; urges the Commission to update its strategy on CSR to establish stronger reporting and compliance requirements and ensure more effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and urges the Member States to endorse the promotion of CSR in trade agreements;

32.  Calls for the EU to set up CSR dialogue platforms bringing together civil society, businesses, international organisations and other stakeholders;

33.  Invites the Commission to apply the emerging results of the ‘Realising Long-term Value for Companies and Investors’ project being undertaken by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Global Compact to its own European Fund for Strategic Investments and to its dialogue with investors when negotiating trade agreements, and to support the concept of a ‘Sustainable Capital Markets Union’ through supporting sustainable trade;

34.  Recalls that the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy, the ILO Decent Work Agenda and the labour elements of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are core texts in relation to corporate social responsibility; requests the Commission to follow up on OECD and UN initiatives by incorporating recently and newly developed international standards into EU legislation and to promote balanced and comprehensive policy recommendations, including a strong sustainable development dimension on global value chains, at the July 2016 meeting of G20 Trade Ministers in Shanghai;

35.  Recalls that the EU is the world’s leading actor in terms of National Action Plans for CSR; calls on the Commission to actively promote responsible business conduct amongst EU companies operating abroad, with a special focus on ensuring strict compliance with all their legal obligations stemming from either domestic laws or any bilateral or international legal obligations that their business operations are subject to therein – not least compliance with international standards and rules in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment; further suggests, to achieve this aim, that the Commission actively engages with its partner countries in the exchange of best practices and know-how on ways and means to improve the business environment and awareness concerning responsible business conduct;

36.  Notes that the CSR agenda must be adapted to the specific needs of regions and countries in order to contribute to improving sustainable economic and social development;

37.  Calls on the Commission to take trade and investment measures involving the award of labels, the granting of preferential access to EU public contracts and the implementation of SME support programmes that will encourage and reward companies introducing CSR strategies;

38.  Strongly welcomes the inclusion of human rights reporting by large businesses in the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive; calls on the EU Member States to transpose the Directive swiftly and effectively; draws attention to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and the objective of ‘integrated reporting’, and calls on all EU listed companies and their stakeholders to comply with the spirit of the Directive within the EU and when trading outside the EU;

39.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to engage actively in the work of the UN’s Human Rights Council and of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on an international treaty to hold transnational corporations accountable for HR abuses and violations of environmental standards;

40.  Stresses that the effective implementation of these recommendations constitutes a crucial element in Parliament’s assessment of trade agreements negotiated by the Commission; requests a detailed and timely response from the Commission to all the items raised in this resolution;

o
o   o

41.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/mc10_19dec15_e.htm
(2) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf
(3) http://eeas.europa.eu/human_rights/docs/2014-hr-annual-report_en.pdf
(4) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/july/tradoc_153591.pdf
(5) Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015 (A/RES/70/1)(http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E)
(6) OJ L 347, 30.12.2005, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 303, 31.10.2012, p. 1.
(8) http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/text/
(9) http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/GuidanceEdition2.pdf
(10) http://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=1437
(11) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 101.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0294.
(13) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 31.
(14) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 94.
(15) A/HRC/RES/26/9 (http://www.ihrb.org/pdf/G1408252.pdf).


A forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment (2015/2105(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0299A8-0220/2016

The European Parliament,

—  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on the state of play of the Doha Development Agenda in advance of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference(1),

–   having regard to its recommendations to the Commission for the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement of 8 July 2015(2) and 3 February 2016(3), respectively,

—  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

–   having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015,

—  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2015 on the external impact of EU trade and investment policy on public-private initiatives in countries outside the EU(4),

—  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 April 2015 on the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse and progress of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact(6),

—  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 2/2014 entitled ‘Are preferential trade arrangements appropriately managed?’,

—  having regard to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy,

–  having regard to the EU Regulation on illegally harvested timber, EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, the EC Proposal for a Conflict Minerals Regulation, the UK Modern Slavery Act Transparency in Supply Chains Clause and the French Bill on duty of care,

—  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2011 on a new trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy(7),

—  having regard to its resolution of 17 February 2011 on Europe 2020(8),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(9),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(10),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(11),

–   having regard to the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council of 24 June 2013,

–   having regard to the European Council Conclusions of 7-8 February 2013, its Conclusions on Trade of 21 November 2014 and the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 27 November 2015,

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee on International Trade to the report on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions,

—  having regard to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation,

—  having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

—  having regard to Articles 207, 208 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to Article 24(2) of Regulation (EU) 2015/478 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 on common rules for imports,

–  having regard to the principle of policy coherence for development as stated in the TFEU,

—  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0220/2016),

A.  whereas trade is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve prosperity and equality, promote business opportunities, sustainable economic development, social progress and cultural understanding, increase employment and raise standards of living without increasing public spending;

B.  whereas the common commercial policy (CCP) has undergone a profound change since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009; whereas trade does not operate in isolation, but rather is linked to and dependent on many other polices; whereas negotiations on trade and investment agreements must go beyond simply cutting tariffs, as complex challenges lie today in regulatory matters and convergence on international standards;

C.  whereas there has not been a serious debate in the European Union about the costs of free trade policies (such as industry adjustments: industrial closures, manufacturing job losses, delocalisation of entire industries to third countries, and increased imports) and the overall cost/benefit analysis of free trade policies; whereas the lack of such honest debate leads various stakeholders to question the logic and direction of EU trade policy and EU policies in general, and whereas an honest debate would prevent this unfortunate result;

D.  whereas global overcapacity in key industries and the resulting trade imbalance have begun eroding the trust that EU companies and industries have in the soundness of EU trade policy;

E.  whereas, in times of low economic growth, the contribution of foreign trade to the recovery of the European economy is of key importance in delivering concrete and measurable results and contributing to decent jobs and sustainable economic growth and equality in Europe and beyond;

F.  whereas the new-generation trade policy needs to respond to people’s concerns about transparency and participation, welfare and jobs, to businesses’ expectations of a global and interconnected economy, to the fight against poverty, and to the need to guarantee a more equitable distribution of the earnings from trade and to address new issues, such as digital trade and the key role of SMEs;

G.  whereas on-going trade negotiations have brought the EU’s trade policy to the public’s attention, and whereas more and more citizens are interested in trade policy and worried that European and national regulations and standards could be undermined by the CCP;

H.  whereas the Commission has made a clear pledge that no trade agreement will ever lower levels of regulatory protection, that any change to levels of protection can only be upward and that the right to regulate will always be protected;

I.  whereas regulatory cooperation in trade agreements has to secure the highest level of protection of health and safety in line with the precautionary principle laid down in Article 191 TFEU;

J.  whereas doubts are being raised by EU citizens, companies and SMEs on whether large industry associations truly represent the interests of EU citizens, EU companies and generally, the European Union;

K.  whereas transparency requires that EU institutions verify that positions submitted on behalf of EU industries actually reflect EU industry views;

L.  whereas the EU’s trade and investment policy must be bolstered not only by ensuring beneficial outcomes in terms of employment and wealth creation for citizens and businesses, but also by strengthening environmental and social rights and guaranteeing the highest level of transparency, engagement and accountability, by maintaining constant dialogue with businesses, consumers, social partners, all other relevant stakeholders and local and regional authorities, and by setting clear guidelines in the negotiations;

M.  whereas rules of origin determine the true extent of trade liberalisation, as they determine which goods actually benefit from free trade agreements, but are often missed in public trade policy debates and have not, until now, been subject to an analysis by Parliament;

N.  whereas, in its trade policy and the trade negotiations it conducts, the European Union must take into account the sensitivity of certain sectors in terms of market opening, particularly the agricultural sector;

O.  whereas by 2050 the EU-28 was projected to account for only 15 % of the world’s GDP, down from 23,7 % in 2013, and whereas since 2015, 90 % of world economic growth is generated outside the EU whereas emerging economies’ growth rate is slowing down considerably;

P.  whereas the EU is currently the largest trading bloc in the world, controlling a third of world trade, and whereas by 2020 this is projected to decrease to about 26 %;

Q.  whereas other variables such as demographic changes will also have a negative impact on the EU’s position on the world trade scene; whereas the EU’s share of the world’s population is expected to decrease from 7,1 % in 2013 to 5,3 % in 2060;

R.  whereas the future trade agreements and negotiations should take into account and be consistent with the positions set out in Parliament’s resolutions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA);

S.  whereas the centre of wealth generation is clearly shifting eastwards, towards the Asia-Pacific Region with China, which has already surpassed Japan and will probably overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy in 2025; whereas this is indicates that emerging economies and developing countries are catching up with the group of industrialised countries and reaching the stage of mature economies;

T.  whereas it has been estimated that cross-border flows of capital, goods, services and data added an extra USD 7,8 trillion to the global economy in 2014, with the added value of data flows alone covering USD 2,8 trillion of that total, more than the USD 2,7 trillion estimated for trade in goods;

Adapting faster to quickly changing trends in global trade

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s new strategy ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ and, in particular, the new focus on such elements as responsible management of supply chains, the global digital market, trade in digital goods and services, fair and ethical trade, and the social costs of trade liberalisation; believes firmly that any future trade policy must fight forms of protectionism, including the reduction of unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade, and ensure new market access, especially for SMEs; recalls that trade liberalisation must be properly conducted to ensure sustainable development; regrets the Commission’s delay in presenting a new strategy, given that Parliament requested that a revised mid- and long-term trade strategy be presented by summer 2012;

2.  Believes strongly that, while services account for over 70 % of GDP in the EU, and will provide 90 % of future jobs, the EU manufacturing sector is a vital component for the reindustrialisation of Europe and, therefore, that the strategy should focus more on the role of the manufacturing sector in the CCP; urges the Commission to work with trade partners to ensure that their markets are more open to EU companies, in particular in transport, telecommunications and public procurement, whereas their foreign companies still benefit from a large access to the EU’s internal market;

3.  Recognises that EU’s trade policy is of utmost geopolitical and economic importance for Europe to shape globalisation, to strengthen international standards and to increase access to foreign markets; notes that international rules will be set by others, if we don’t act now; Emphasises that, given the EU’s status as the largest economy in the world, sustainable and responsible trade is its strongest policy tool for both supporting European interests, investment and business, and promoting European values abroad, while fostering economic growth and investment, and creating jobs at home; supports the Commission’s aim to enhance synergies between trade and internal market policies, and recommends that these policies award priority to measures aimed at creating jobs;

4.  Welcomes the Commission’s pledge that no trade agreement will lower the achievements of European consumer protection standards, including in the context of the digital revolution; stresses that Parliament will continue to closely check that the ongoing negotiations respect this pledge;

5.  Stresses the link between the single market and EU trade policy, which should be fully compatible with each other and with the wider policies and values of the Union; believes that open, responsible and free global trade, based on effective, transparent and strong global rules, is essential to making the single market realise its full potential by functioning, growing and working for the mutual benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises; recalls that the opening-up of trade leads to higher productivity, encourages increased external competitiveness and already supports almost one in seven jobs in the single market, as well as brings significant consumer benefits;

6.  Calls on the Commission to regularly update its trade and investment strategy and to publicly present every two years a detailed implementation report to Parliament, starting in 2017, to ensure that it delivers on its promises; calls on the Commission to include in these reports the progress of the ongoing trade negotiations and the implementation of the current trade agreements;

7.  Urges the Commission to expedite its procedures so that negotiated trade agreements can be referred to Parliament within a shorter period of time, thereby allowing them to be applied provisionally or entered into force more swiftly;

Transparent trade policy and giving a greater voice to citizens

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s increased transparency and openness at all stages of trade negotiations, and supports the Commission’s TTIP transparency initiative; acknowledges that, after a number of requests from Parliament, the Commission has enhanced the transparency of negotiations by providing all Members of the European Parliament and of the national parliaments access to classified negotiating documents, and by providing more information to stakeholders; recalls that enlarged access to classified information by Members of Parliament in the TTIP negotiations has strengthened parliamentary scrutiny, thereby allowing Parliament to assume its responsibility under the CCP even better; calls, therefore, for a widening of the Commission’s transparency initiative to extend full transparency, and the possibility for public scrutiny, to all ongoing and future trade negotiations, and to consult with partner countries with a view to encouraging the highest standards of transparency, to make sure that this is a reciprocal process in which the EU’s negotiating position is not compromised and that agreement is reached on the aspired level of transparency of the negotiations in the scoping exercises; stresses that meaningful transparency can strengthen global support for rules-based trade;

9.  Calls on the Council to publish all previously adopted and future negotiating mandates without delay;

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a strong and balanced involvement of civil society and social partners, including through appropriate, public, online consultations and communication campaigns, in order to improve the content of the EU’s trade policy and orient it to the defence of citizen’s rights, thereby strengthening its legitimacy;

11.  Stresses that, in the context of the present debate on the scope of trade negotiations, regulatory cooperation must preserve the primary function of regulations to pursue the public interest; stresses that enhanced cooperation between regulators should facilitate trade and investment through the identification of unnecessary technical barriers to trade and duplicated or redundant administrative burdens and formalities, which disproportionately affect SMEs, while not compromising the technical procedures linked to fundamental standards and regulations, preserving European standards on health, safety, consumer, labour, social and environmental legislation and cultural diversity, and fully protecting the precautionary principle and the regulatory autonomy of national, regional and local authorities; recalls that corresponding mechanisms must be based on enhanced information exchange and improved adoption of international technical standards, and lead to increased convergence, whilst under no circumstances undermining or delaying the democratically legitimised decision-making procedures of any trading partner; encourages the use and creation of further international technical standards based on impact assessments, and all efforts aimed at ensuring the full engagement of our trading partners in international standardisation bodies; does not believe, however, that the lack of a common international standard should prevent mutual recognition of equivalence, where appropriate, or efforts towards common transatlantic technical standards;

12.  In order to ensure transparency and preserve EU trade interests, calls on the Commission, when conducting industry consultations on trade initiatives, to ensure that EU associations actually represent EU trade interests by reflecting the genuine interests of the national industries; stresses that, where possible, documents of the EU institutions should be published, as transparency is crucial to gaining public support for the CCP; calls on the Commission to implement the recommendations of the European Ombudsman of July 2015, with particular regard to access to documents for all negotiations;

Greater coherence between the EU’s commercial objectives and other aspects of its external policy on trade for development

13.  Recalls that the CCP is to be conducted in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union’s external action, as set out in Articles 21 TEU and 208 TFEU, and should promote the values upheld by the EU, as defined in Article 2 TEU; recalls that consistency between external policies and internal ones having an external dimension must be ensured; stresses that the EU has a legal obligation to respect human rights, and should foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of trading countries; is of the opinion that the EU has a responsibility to make all necessary efforts to foresee, prevent and tackle any potential negative impact caused by its CCP by regularly conducting ex-ante and ex-post human rights and sustainability impact assessments, and consequently reviewing trade agreements as necessary; recalls that only fair and properly regulated trade, if aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), could reduce inequality and foster development; recalls that the SDGs include several trade-related targets across a number of policy areas, one of the most concrete targets being to increase exports from developing countries with a view to doubling the LDCs’ share of global exports by 2020;

14.  Welcomes the large decrease, since 1990, in the number of people living in absolute poverty, as defined by the World Bank; notes however, that more needs to be done to catalyse both private and public investment in LDCs in order to provide the institutional and infrastructural frameworks that will allow them to take better advantage of the benefits offered by trade, and to help them diversify their economies and integrate into global value chains, permitting them to specialise in higher-value-added products;

15.  Takes note of the Commission’s announcements to strengthen sustainable development and promote human rights, labour and social standards and environmental sustainability worldwide through its trade and investment agreements, but calls for determined efforts to fully implement and enforce the corresponding chapters in practice; shares the Commission’s view that the EU has a special responsibility as regards the impact of its trade policies on developing countries and in particular on LDC;

16.  Considers migration to be one of the main challenges the EU is facing in the 21st century; emphasises that ensuring policy coherence of the EU’s trade and investment is fundamental in order to tackle the causes of migration; regrets that this has not been sufficiently reflected in the ‘Trade for All’ strategy;

17.  Considers that the objective of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) – in particular for partner countries undergoing an economic crisis – must be, above all, tangible and sustainable improvements to the living conditions of ordinary people;

18.  Stresses that provisions on human rights, social and environmental standards, commitments on labour rights based on the ILO’s core conventions and principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), including the OECD principles for multinational companies and the UN Principles on Business and Human rights, should be binding and must form a substantial part of EU trade agreements through enforceable commitments; calls on the Commission to include sustainable development chapters in all EU trade and investment agreements; considers that, in order to make these sustainable development provisions binding, a ‘three-step approach’ needs to be implemented, with government consultations, domestic advisory groups and expert panels involving the ILO, and with, as a last resort, the general dispute settlement provision of the agreement used to address disputes with the possibility of financial sanctions; points out that labour and environmental standards are not limited to Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters, but must be effective throughout all areas of trade agreements;

19.  Underlines the importance of effective safeguard mechanisms in trade agreements; calls, at the same time, for the inclusion of an effective enforcement mechanism for labour and environmental rights to which the human rights clause does not apply; calls on the Commission to establish a structured and depoliticised process whereby consultations with a partner on suspected violations of obligations under trade and sustainable development chapters must be launched according to clear criteria;

20.  Highlights the involvement of civil society in free trade agreements (FTAs) and the possibility of using more advanced media in order to facilitate civil society participation;

21.  Reiterates the importance of respecting European and international rules on the arms trade, notably the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports; stresses that EU trade policy is an instrument of economic diplomacy that could also make a contribution to tackling the root causes of terrorism; underlines that effective export control legislation is also a key aspect of EU trade policy; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to update EU dual-use export control legislation with a view to pursuing the EU’s strategic goals and universal values;

22.  Recalls that the ILO estimates that 865 million women around the world, if better supported, could contribute more robustly to economic growth; notes that women-owned businesses represent an underutilised lever to boost competitiveness, accelerate business and sustain growth; states that trade policy can have differing gender impacts across the various sectors of the economy and that more data on gender and trade is needed; takes note that the Commission does not address the gender dimension of trade agreements in its ‘Trade for All’ communication; calls on the Commission to step up its efforts to use trade negotiations as a tool for promoting gender equality worldwide, as well as to ensure that both women and men can take advantage of the benefits of trade liberalisation and be protected from its negative effects; believes that, to this aim, the Commission should make sure that the gender perspective is included, horizontally, in all future trade agreements, and that it should monitor the gender impact of the trade agreements in force;

23.  Welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it intends to conduct a mid-term review of the General System of Preferences (GSP), assessing, in particular, the possibility of extending preferences to services within the system; stresses, at the same time, that the GSP, including the EBA and the GSP+ schemes, are tools that enable fundamental values to be upheld and that need to be implemented and monitored effectively;

Transparent global value chains (GVCs) respecting fundamental values and standards worldwide

24.  Acknowledges that the internationalisation of the world’s production system has contributed to new openings for economic development and an employment-based path out of poverty for hundreds of millions of people; recalls that, according to the ILO, around 780 million active women and men are not earning enough to be lifted out of poverty; underlines that the expansion of global value chains (GVCs) has created job opportunities, but that the weak enforcement of existing labour laws and occupational safety standards – introduced to protect workers from exhaustive working hours and unacceptable conditions – in sourcing countries remains a pressing issue; notes that GVCs have also propelled some supplier firms to ignore labour laws, reallocate their economic activities outside the EU, engage workers in unsafe and unacceptable conditions, demand exhaustive working hours and deny workers their fundamental rights; recalls that these practices create unfair competition for suppliers that are compliant with labour laws and international labour and environmental standards, and for governments that want to improve wages and living standards; calls on the Commission to study the impact of the rise of GVCs and to present concrete proposals to improve conditions in them in close cooperation with the ILO and the OECD; emphasises that the EU’s further integration into GVCs must be driven by the dual principles of safeguarding the European social and regulatory model, and securing and creating sustainable and equitable growth, and decent jobs, in the EU and for its partners; acknowledges that the globalisation of value chains increases the import content of both domestic output and exports, thereby substantially increasing the cost of protectionist measures;

25.  Believes that trade policy must contribute to ensure a transparent production process throughout the value chain, as well as compliance with fundamental environment, social and safety standards; invites the Commission to promote initiatives on due diligence standards for supply chains; welcomes the Commission’s desire to work closely with the ILO and the OECD to develop a global approach to improving working conditions, especially in the garment sector; underlines the importance of identifying and assessing new sectorial or geographic opportunities for additional responsible supply chain initiatives; looks forward to the Commission’s upcoming communication on CSR;

26.  Urges the Commission to advance the UNCTAD comprehensive Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development;

27.  Demands that Aid for Trade and technical assistance is focussed on the empowerment of poor producers, micro and small enterprises, cooperatives and women, and on gender equality, in order to boost their benefits from trading in local and regional markets;

28.  Calls on the Commission to develop legislation with the aim of prohibiting imports of goods produced with any form of forced labour or modern slavery and, in the meantime, to strengthen import and supply chain controls on ethical grounds;

29.  Stresses that better protection of the entire spectrum of intellectual property rights (IPR) and more effective enforcement is of fundamental importance for further integration into GVCs;

30.  Calls on the Commission to support all developing countries in making full and effective use of the flexibilities built into the TRIPS Agreement, recognised and affirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and Public Health adopted on 14 November 2001, with a view to ensuring that they are able to provide access to affordable essential medicines under their domestic public health programmes; reminds the Council, in this regard, to meet its commitments to the Doha Declaration by ensuring that the Commission explicitly guarantees access to medicine when negotiating pharmaceutical-related provisions within the framework of future bilateral and regional trade agreements with developing countries, or when developing countries engage in accession to the WTO; welcomes the Commission’s support of the extension request for pharmaceutical intellectual property by LDCs, but regrets the final WTO TRIPS Council decision to grant it only for 17 years;

31.  Welcomes the attention given by the Commission to fair trade in its "Trade for all" communication, and calls upon the it to deliver, with priority, on its commitments to use the existing structure for implementation of FTAs to promote fair trade, to promote fair trade schemes to small producers in third countries through the EU delegations and to develop awareness-raising activities in the EU, such as an "EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade" award;

32.  Believes that new technologies and the internet provides new tools for traceability of products along the supply chain;

33.  Points to the role of banking services in the development of trade and investment; calls on the EU to support action to foster access to banking services in developing countries;

34.  Welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it intends to modernise origin rules, as those rules constitute an ever increasing barrier to trade where trade patterns are dominated by global value chains; stresses that the modernisation of origin rules must be a priority in all FTAs that the Union negotiates; calls on the Commission, in particular, to work for flexible origin rules, including undemanding requirements relating to added value and changing Harmonised System subcodes;

Making the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements a key priority for EU trade policy

35.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for an enhanced partnership with Parliament and stakeholders for the implementation of trade agreements; emphasises that Parliament needs to be involved and fully informed, in a timely manner, at all stages of the procedure, including by means of a systematic consultation with the Parliament prior to the drafting of negotiating mandates; points out that the Commission is under an obligation to inform Parliament about its activities concerning the implementation, monitoring and follow-up of trade and investment agreements;

36.  Calls on the Commission not to request provisional application of trade agreements, including trade chapters of association agreements, before Parliament gives its consent; recalls that it would seriously undermine Parliament’s rights and create potential legal uncertainty vis-à-vis the agreement’s other signatory and the economic operators concerned; recalls and welcomes the Trade Commissioner’s commitments in this regard, but strongly counsels this arrangement to be formalised in the new inter-institutional agreement;

37.  Considers that, in the case of mixed agreements, the already tested practice, whereby an agreement is only applied provisionally after Parliament has granted consent while awaiting national parliaments’ ratification, is the best balance of democratic oversight and efficiency;

38.  Insists that the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements become a key priority of the CCP; calls on the Commission to re-allocate adequate resources in order to enable DG Trade to better monitor trade agreements that need to be implemented considering the growing negotiating agenda; asks the Commission to establish specific indicators, in order to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of trade agreements and, to publicly and regularly present a substantial and detailed implementation report to Parliament indicating, for instance, the performance of EU industries and the impact of the agreements on different sectors and their respective market shares;

39.  Calls on the Commission to improve the quality and the accuracy of both ex-ante and ex-post assessments based on the reviewed methodology; stresses the need always to submit a deep and comprehensive sustainability impact assessment for trade policy initiatives, in particular in light of the Ombudsman’s recent recommendation with regard to complaint 1409/201/JN on the EU-Vietnam FTA; stresses that the assessments should encompass at least: sensitive economic sectors; human, social and environmental rights; and agriculture and local productions in outermost regions (OR); expresses its concern over the lack of interim and ex-post assessments, and over the poor quality of those that are carried out, as demonstrated in the European Court of Auditors Special Report 02/2014; insists that higher-quality interim and ex-post evaluations be carried out in respect of all trade agreements in order to allow policymakers, stakeholders and European taxpayers to assess whether trade agreements have achieved the intended results; asks the Commission to provide data on the impact of the trade agreements that have been concluded with special regard to SMEs, the creation of decent jobs, human rights and the environment, including in partner countries, and to put forward additional measures to ensure that LDCs benefit from our trade policies;

40.  Calls on the Commission to present a report to Parliament on dual-pricing and other price-distorting practices of major EU trading partners, with special focus on energy resources, indicating the economic impact of such practices on the EU economy and the steps that the Commission has taken – at bilateral, multilateral and WTO level – to eradicate such practices; calls on the Commission to do its utmost to abolish the practice of dual-pricing and other price-distorting practices in its trade relations with all its trading partners;

Furthering global trade via a multilateral approach within the WTO

41.  Stresses that the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO remains the best option for guaranteeing an open, fair and rules-based system that takes account of, and balances, the many varying interests of its members; reiterates that Parliament is a strong advocate of the multilateral agenda; welcomes the conclusion of the negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will contribute to simplifying and modernising customs procedures in many countries, making it easier, in turn, for developing countries to integrate into the global trading system; calls for the swift and correct implementation of the agreement by all parties;

42.  Notes that limited improvements were achieved at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in 2015; recognises the differences among WTO members on how to proceed as regards the Doha Round, including the need to consider new approaches to solve outstanding issues in the respect of the different interests within developing countries and among LDCs, while acknowledging increased responsibility for emerging economies with a view to the conclusion of the Doha round; welcomes the EU commitment to the EUR 400 million target in funding over five years to support developing countries, especially LDCs, in their efforts to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement; notes the interest of some WTO members in starting to address new negotiating areas, such as – but not limited to – investment, state-owned enterprises, competition and digital trade; believes that the outcome of the Nairobi Ministerial Conference provides an opportunity to give new life to the WTO’s negotiating function; urges the Commission to take the initiative in reforming and strengthening the WTO, also by strengthening coordination with the ILO and other environment- and human rights-related UN agencies in order to ensure greater inclusiveness, effectiveness, transparency and accountability; recalls the crucial role of Aid for Trade (AfT) in trade-related capacity building and technical assistance to developing countries and LDCs; calls, in this regard, on the EU and its Member States to commit to increase AfT, enabling developing countries to benefit from a larger share of the value added in GVCs; calls on the Commission to address the issue of fair and ethical trade in the upcoming revision of the AfT strategy;

43.  Considers plurilateral negotiations, preferably within the WTO (such as the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the Environmental Goods Agreements (EGA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)), offer an opportunity to revive progress at WTO level, but only by maintaining an open door so that interested WTO members can join; believes firmly that, where possible, such agreements must be of sufficient ambition to be applied on a most favoured nation basis among all WTO Members, and should act as building blocks for future multilateral agreements; emphasises that trade policy should also be used as a tool for increasing the competiveness of environmentally beneficial products, both as regards their use and their production methods; stresses the importance of multilateralising the ‘green goods’ initiative and of considering whether trade agreements could provide premium preferences for genuine environmental goods; underlines that TiSA could be an opportunity to revive progress on trade in services at WTO level;

44.  Calls for a strong and effective parliamentary dimension of the WTO in order to enhance the transparency of the organisation, and to strengthen and guarantee the democratic legitimacy of global trade; urges the WTO to make full use of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, ensuring that parliamentarians have access to all the information they need to carry out their oversight role effectively and contribute meaningfully to trade policies;

A tailor-made approach in the choice of future FTA negotiations

45.  Calls on the Commission to focus, in a balanced way and with due respect for reciprocity and mutual benefits, on the conclusion of the on-going trade negotiations, and calls on the it to assess the possible cumulated impact, in particular for those sensitive products affected by quotas or liberalisation under ongoing negotiations or trade agreements already concluded; asks that the actual and potential impacts of concluded trade agreements are assessed and communicated in a better way, with a view to finding an appropriate balance between protecting sensitive agricultural sectors and promoting the offensive interests of the Union inherent to it as one of the largest agri-food exporters, i.a. by envisaging appropriate transitional periods and quotas for, and in a few cases the exclusion of, the most sensitive products; reminds the Commission to carry out scoping exercises and impartial and unprejudiced ex-ante sustainable impact assessments, taking into account Union interests before drafting negotiating mandates;

46.  Believes that it is essential, first and foremost, to ensure that trade negotiations that have successfully been concluded are ratified as swiftly as possible; calls, in particular, for the conclusion of deals with Canada and Singapore to ensure the opening up of two large markets that will be vital for the future interests of EU businesses; calls for an informed debate across the EU during political discussions;

47.  Underlines the high importance of pursuing in all EU trade negotiations sensitive and offensive interests such as promoting investment, removing unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade, recognising and protecting geographical indications (GIs) and labour rights, improving access to public procurements (particularly in the context of the current talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Japan FTA), ensuring decent and quality jobs, integrating SMEs in global value chains, excluding public and audio-visual services, and legally securing the right to regulate when negotiating FTAs as part of ambitious balanced and comprehensive packages;

48.  Insists that trade negotiations follow a tailor-made regional trade strategy and that full consistency with regional integration is ensured, in particular within Asia, Africa and Latin America, which have been identified by the Commission as regions that, without undermining the key role played by the EU-US as strategic partnership, are crucial to EU economic interests; calls on the Commission immediately to start negotiations on an investment agreement with Taiwan; recalls that the EU and Latin America are natural allies, with a combined population of one billion people generating a quarter of global GNP; points out that the potential of this partnership has been insufficiently exploited; welcomes the fact that the Commission’s new trade and investment strategy puts a key focus on Latin America; calls on the Commission to take advantage of the current momentum in the Mercosur trade negotiations to reach a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious agreement; supports the modernisation of the agreements with Mexico and Chile; asks for further impetus to be given to negotiating FTAs with both Australia and New Zealand, and recalls the importance of developing EU trade relations with India, given the huge potential of this market; urges the Commission to re-energise negotiations with Malaysia, and to start negotiations with Indonesia as soon as possible following the conclusion of preparatory discussions for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership;

49.  Underlines that, in the context of current challenges, special focus should be put on the post-Cotonou framework, stressing its link with the human rights clauses in the EPAs, on the support for the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area in Africa, as booster of stability, regional integration, local growth, employment and innovation; recalls the need for the EU to ensure stability in its Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, and calls for greater trade and economic integration, achieving, in this regard, a full, swift and appropriate implementation of the DCFTAs with Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and concrete progress with Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan;

50.  Calls on the Commission to fully involve national businesses in all stages of trade negotiations, also by engaging in consultations with national associations, in parallel to consultations with EU umbrella associations, and to accompany the text of a negotiated trade agreement with a list clearly indicating the outcome of the negotiations for the different sectors and the reasons of the choices made by the Commission;

Opposition to the granting of Market Economic Status (MES) to China and the need for effective trade defence instruments (TDIs)

51.  Stresses that further trade liberalisation measures – which could lead to unfair trading practices and competition between countries on all sort of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), labour rights and environmental and public health standards – require the EU to be able to respond even more effectively to unfair trading practices and to ensure a level playing field; underlines that trade defence instruments (TDIs) must remain an indispensable component of the EU’s trade strategy and enable greater competitiveness by re-establishing, where necessary, the conditions for fair competition; recalls that the current EU trade defence legislation dates back to 1995; stresses that the Union’s trade defence system needs to be modernised urgently without being weakened; points out that EU trade defence law must be more effective, more accessible for SMEs and adapted to today’s challenges and trade patterns, that investigations must be shorter and that transparency and predictability must be increased; regrets that the TDI modernisation proposal is blocked in the Council, which has been unable to deliver on this essential piece of legislation; regrets that the Commission does not refer at all to the need for TDI modernisation in its ‘Trade for All’ communication; urgently calls on the Council to break the stalemate over TDI modernisation on the basis of Parliament’s position, especially given that China is now firmly requesting recognition of MES;

52.  Reiterates the importance of the EU’s partnership with China, in which free and fair trade and investment play an important role; is convinced that, until China meets all five criteria required to qualify as a market economy, the EU should use a non-standard methodology in its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations of Chinese imports when determining price comparability, in accordance with, and giving full effect to, those parts of Section 15 of China’s Accession Protocol which provide room for the application of a non-standard methodology; calls on the Commission to make a proposal in line with this principle, and recalls the need to coordinate closely with other WTO partners on the issue;

53.  Calls on the Commission not to take any measures in this regard without a prior, deep and comprehensive impact assessment addressing all the possible effects and consequences on employment and sustainable growth in all EU sectors, as well as the possible effects and consequences on the environment;

Greater coherence between the EU’s trade and industrial policies and better IPR protection

54.  Considers that more needs to be done to address European industries’ needs in a comprehensive way, and that the EU manufacturing sector is too often placed behind the services sector; emphasises that trade policy must ensure a level playing field for European industry, provide access to new and emerging markets and facilitate upward convergence on standards while reducing double certification; calls on the Commission to ensure coherence between the EU’s trade and industrial policies, and to promote the development and competitiveness of European industry with particular reference to the reindustrialisation strategy;

55.  Emphasises the central role that rules of origin (RoO) play in determining which industries benefit or lose from EU FTAs; recognising that RoO have, as yet, not been fully analysed by Parliament, asks the Commission to prepare a report identifying the changes it has made in the last ten years, at 4-digit CN level, to their preferred FTA default negotiating position on RoO, explaining the reasons for any changes made;

56.  Is of the opinion that the lack of effective enforcement of IPRs puts at risk the survival of whole sectors of European industry; stresses that counterfeiting results in job losses and undermines innovation; reiterates that adequate IPR protection and effective enforcement are the bedrock of a global economy; welcomes the Commission’s commitment to increasing the protection and enforcement of IP rights in FTAs, and at the WTO, and to working with partners to combat fraud; supports the Commission in its objective of protecting the entire spectrum of IPRs, including patents, trademarks, copyright, designs, geographical indications, marking of origin and pharmaceuticals;

Opening up of new market opportunities for EU service providers and recognition of professional qualifications as an essential element of the EU trade strategy

57.  Recalls that the EU plays a leading role in the services sector; stresses that the opening up of new market opportunities must be an essential element of the EU’s international trade strategy; stresses that including services in trade agreements is of the utmost importance, as it gives opportunities to European companies and domestic employees while also excluding, in line with Articles 14 and 106 TFEU and Protocol 26, current and future services of general interest and services of general economic interest from the scope of application of any agreement and irrespective of whether they are publicly or privately funded; requests that the Commission promote and include the recognition of professional qualifications in trade agreements, thereby opening up new opportunities to European companies and employees; calls specifically for consideration to be given to incorporating certain benefits of the ICT Directive in trade and investment agreements in exchange for such recognitions;

58.  Shares the Commission’s view that the temporary movement of professionals has become essential to increasing business internationally and remains an offensive interest of the EU; stresses that a labour mobility chapter should be included in all EU trade and investment agreements; recalls, however, that Mode 4 commitments must only apply to the movement of highly skilled professionals (such as persons with a university or equivalent master’s degree or in a senior managerial position) for a specific purpose, for a limited period of time, and under precise conditions stipulated by the domestic legislation of the country where the service is performed, and by a contract respecting such domestic legislation in compliance with Article 16 of the Services Directive while ensuring that nothing will prevent the EU and its Member States from maintaining and improving labour standards and collective agreements;

59.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to use trade policy to tackle new forms of digital protectionism and to set rules for e-commerce and cross-border data flows in compliance with EU data protection and privacy law and safeguarding fundamental rights; believes that much more needs to be done to create a climate favourable to e-commerce and entrepreneurship within the EU reducing monopolies and abuses of monopolistic positions in the telecom market, geo-blocking practices and concrete redress solutions; stresses that ensuring regulatory cooperation, reducing on-line fraud, mutual recognition and harmonisation of standards in the digital trade sector is vital; calls on the Commission to put forward a new model for e-commerce chapters, fully exempting the existing and any future EU legal framework for the protection of data in all trade negotiations, having the aim to ensure the exchange of data in full compliance with data protection rules in place in the country of origin of the data subject; calls for more co-operation between enforcers, especially on unfair commercial practices carried on-line;

The essential nature of the digital economy to future global trade

60.  Notes the growing and future importance of the digital economy, not only in Europe, but worldwide, with an estimated 3,3 billion internet users globally, making up 40 % of the world’s population; believes that trends such as cloud computing, mobile web services, smart grids and social media are leading to a radically transformed businesses landscape; underlines that EU trade policy must keep up with digital and technological trends;

61.  Requests that the Commission, together with WTO partners, not only establish a working group on digital trade at the WTO, which should examine in detail the current framework’s suitability for electronic commerce, looking at specific recommendations, clarifications and adjustments, but also look at establishing a new framework for the trade facilitation in services, building on best practice stemming from the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement;

Support for the Commission in its fight against corruption

62.  Is aware that the inclusion of provisions relating to financial services in trade agreements has raised concerns regarding their potential negative effects in terms of money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance; urges the Commission to fight against corruption as a major non-tariff barrier in developed and developing countries; insists that trade and investment agreements offer a good opportunity to increase cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering, tax fraud and evasion; considers that commitments based on international standards, country-by-country reporting obligations and an automatic exchange of information should be included in appropriate international agreements to underpin further liberalisation of financial services;

63.  Considers the connection between trade and investment agreements and double taxation treaties to be seriously underexplored and calls on the Commission to study closely any effects such tools may have on each other and on wider policy coherence in the fight against tax evasion;

A forward-looking trade policy considering the specific needs of SMEs

64.  Emphasises that a forward-looking trade policy must pay greater attention to the specific needs of micro and SMEs and ensure that they can fully benefit from trade and investment agreements; recalls that only a small share of European SMEs are able to identify and exploit the opportunities that globalisation and trade liberalisation offer; notes that only 13 % of European SMEs have been internationally active outside the EU while accounting for one third of EU exports; supports initiatives to facilitate the internationalisation of European SMEs, and insists, therefore, on the advantages of a chapter on SMEs in all future FTAs; believes that new ways need to be explored on how to better assist SMEs in their sale of goods and services abroad; stresses that SMEs need more tailor-made support, starting in Member States, facilitated access to user-friendly online information about trade measures, and specific and clear guidebooks about the opportunities and benefits offered by each past or future trade agreement concluded by the EU;

65.  Asks the Commission to address SMEs’ needs horizontally in all chapters of trade agreements, including, but not limited to, through the creation of online single points of entry where SMEs can learn about relevant regulation, something of particularly crucial relevance to cross-border service providers in terms of licencing and other administrative requirements; points out that, where appropriate, these tools should also cover new market access opportunities for SMEs, particularly as regards low-value tenders; stresses the need to cut trading costs for SMEs through streamlining customs procedures, reducing unnecessary non-tariff barriers and regulatory burdens, and simplifying rules of origin; believes that there is a role to be played by SMEs in helping the Commission to shape these tools to ensure that trade agreements meet their needs; encourages the Commission to maintain close dialogue with SME representatives at all stages of trade negotiations;

66.  Stresses that faster access for European SMEs to anti-dumping procedures is key to protecting them from unfair trade practices; stresses the need for a reform of the WTO multilateral framework in order to better involve SMEs and to ensure faster settlement of disputes;

67.  Calls on the Commission to assess and improve the existing tools regarding subsidiarity, non-duplication and complementarity in relation to respective Member State programmes and European value added before developing further stand-alone actions to support the internationalisation of SMEs; stresses that the Commission should submit an independent evaluation of all the existing programmes to Parliament;

Investment

68.  Highlights the importance of inward and outward investment to the EU economy and the need for the EU’s business to be protected when they invest in third markets; recognises, in this context, the Commission´s efforts with respect to the new Investment Court System (ICS); stresses the need of further debate with stakeholders and Parliament on ICS; stresses that the system must be in compliance with the EU legal order, the power of the EU courts in particular, and, more specifically, EU competition rules; shares the ambition of establishing, in the medium term, a multilateral solution to investment disputes; regrets that the ICS proposal does not include an investors’ obligation provision;

69.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to follow UNCTAD’s comprehensive Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development recommendations with a view to stimulating more responsible, transparent and accountable investments;

70.  Notes the requirement in the Commission’s ‘Investment Plan for Europe’ to boost investment within the EU, and considers trade strategies to be an essential means of achieving this goal; notes that the European Fund for Strategic Investments lacks an external dimension; asks that the Commission only consider the creation of an external arm after careful analysis of the performance of the Fund and an examination of its utility, given the existence of lending by the European Investment Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the action of the European Development Fund; emphasises that these funds must contribute to sustainable development and decent jobs, tackle poverty and abate the root causes of migration;

71.  Recalls the need to enhance the transparency and accountability of development finance institutions (DFIs), public-private partnerships (PPPs) to effectively track and monitor the money flows, debt sustainability and the added value for the sustainable development of their projects;

Trade and Agriculture

72.  Stresses that Europe’s high standards concerning the environment, food safety, animal welfare and social conditions are of great importance for EU citizens, notably in terms of public morals and informed consumer choices, takes the view that trade agreements should promote fair competition to ensure that EU farmers fully benefit from tariff concessions and are not economically disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in third countries; underlines the need to guarantee that EU standards on food safety and animal welfare are protected by preserving the precautionary principle, sustainable agriculture and high level of traceability and product labelling and by ensuring that all imports are complying with applicable EU laws; notes the wide differential in animal welfare standards internationally; underlines, in this regard, the need to regulate the export of living farm animals in compliance with the existing EU Law and the standards set down by the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE);

73.  Considers the opening of new markets for EU agricultural production, such as dairy products, meat and fruits and vegetables, to be important in the context of the current farming crisis; stresses the need to identify new market outlets with a high purchasing potential;

74.  Considers it necessary to enhance the added value of farming and to run promotion campaigns with a view to opening up new markets; stresses above all that it is essential to strengthen EU-level quality schemes, since they ensure the best possible brand image for EU products on the world market, providing indirect benefits for European farming as a whole;

75.  Stresses the need for tighter import controls at borders and for more stringent inspections by the Food and Veterinary Office relating to production and marketing conditions in countries exporting to the EU, in order to ensure compliance with Union rules;

76.  Stresses the importance of progress regarding health, phytosanitary and other non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade, in all free trade negotiations, especially regarding the red lines drawn by the EU that might have implications for the health of consumers;

77.  Recalls the importance of GIs in promoting traditional European agri-food products, protecting them from harmful free-riding practices, guaranteeing consumers´ rights and conscious choices, and safeguarding rural producers and farmers, with particular reference to SMEs; notes that the protection and recognition of geographical indicators in third countries is potentially of great value to the entire EU agri-food sector, and considers that all trade agreements should include protective measures and actions to combat counterfeiting;

Better access to public contracts for European economic operators

78.  Calls for the elimination of the current imbalances as regards the degree of openness of public procurement markets between the EU and other trading partners; calls on the Commission to go even further in seeking an ambitious and more reciprocal opening up of international public procurement markets, while guaranteeing the exclusion of services of general economic interests and making sure states remain free to adopt social and environmental standards, such as most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria, for procurement procedures; stresses that European economic operators, both corporate companies and SMEs, need better access to public contracts in third countries through instruments such as the Small Business Act and the elimination of the current level of asymmetries; recalls, in this regard, that the EU is one of the most open markets for public procurement among all WTO members;

79.  Notes the Commission’s amended proposal for a regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement, which is an important tool for ensuring a level playing field in the market access of third countries, and strongly regrets that Member States governments have been holding up the original proposal; calls on the Commission to achieve positive reciprocity in access to public procurement markets with major trading partners;

Equal access to resources for fair competition on the global market

80.  Emphasises that natural resources are limited and should be used in an economically and environmentally sustainable way, giving priority to recycling; recognise the great dependence of developing countries and especially LDCs on natural resources; recalls that European trade policy needs to pursue a consistent, sustainable, comprehensive and cross-policy strategy concerning raw materials as already outlined by Parliament in its resolution on a new trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy;

81.  Emphasises the need to move towards a low-carbon economy, and therefore encourages the Commission to enhance cooperation on energy research, development and innovation activities aiming at the promotion of the diversification of energy suppliers, routes and sources, the identification of new energy trading partners and the creation of increased competition, lowering prices for energy consumers; stresses that the development of renewables and the promotion of energy efficiency are crucial to increasing energy security and reducing import dependency; highlights the importance of including both provisions in free trade agreements, with the aim of building sustainable energy partnerships and enhancing technological cooperation, especially in the field of renewables and energy efficiency and safeguards, and of preventing carbon leakage in order to meet the objectives outlines at COP21;

The fight against illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products

82.  Remains deeply concerned by the recent surge in wildlife crime and its attendant illegal trade, which is not only having a devastating impact on biodiversity and species numbers, but also presents a clear and present danger to livelihoods and local economies, notably in developing countries; welcomes the EU’s commitment to eliminate the illegal wildlife trade as part of the EU’s response to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 15, which notes the need not only to ensure the end of poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, but also to address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products; expects, in this regard, the Commission, after a period of reflection including consultation with Parliament and the Member States, to consider how best to include provisions on the illegal wildlife trade in all future EU trade agreements;

Better customs cooperation and the fight against illicit trade at the EU’s borders

83.  Emphasises that better, harmonised and more efficient customs procedures in Europe and abroad help facilitate trade and meet respective trade facilitation requirements, and help prevent forgeries and illegal and counterfeit goods from entering the single market, which undermines EU economic growth and seriously exposes EU consumers; welcomes the Commission’s intention to enhance cooperation between customs authorities; calls once more on the Commission and the Members States to set up a unified EU customs service for a more effective application of customs rules and procedures throughout the customs territory of the EU;

84.  Stresses that the Commission, in negotiating trade agreements, should seek to persuade trading partners to adopt single windows for customs and border compliance, if necessary accompanied by capacity-building aid for trade funds, as appropriate;

85.  Emphasises that adequate communication and strong coordination are required to ensure that tariff elimination is accompanied by appropriate technical, institutional and policy measures to ensure continued security of trade;

86.  Asks the Commission to consider key performance indicators in order to assess the performance of customs administration at home and abroad; regrets that, at present, very little public data is available; points out that it would be useful to understand how customs and other border agencies are performing at home as well as among trade partners, on an ongoing basis, with a view to sharing best practices and coordinating trade facilitation specific interests within the European institutions – taking account of the provisions of Article 13 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;

87.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to launch an open debate about the possible shift of custom authorities from national to EU level;

Delivering tangible benefits to consumers

88.  Acknowledges that trade agreements have the potential to largely benefit consumers, notably by increasing competition, lowering prices, providing greater choice and boosting innovation; calls on the Commission, in order to unleash such potential, to push strongly in all negotiations for a limitation to geoblocking practices, for a reduction in international roaming fees, and for a reinforcement of passenger rights;

89.  Calls for measures to support consumers in the context of cross-border trade in goods and services with third countries, for example in the form of online help desks that provide information or advice in connection with disputes;

90.  Insists that consumers must be given accurate information on the characteristics of the products traded;

Trade for all: flanking policies in open trade and investment policies needed to maximise the gains and minimise the losses

91.  Shares the OECD’s view that ‘open and fair trade’ and investment policies need a range of effective flanking policies in order to maximise the gains and minimise the losses of trade liberalisation for the EU and for third countries’ populations and economies; urges the Members States and the Commission to do much more to complement trade opening by means of a range of supporting measures in order to ensure sustainable development – such as in the areas of public services and investments, education and health, active labour market policies, research and development, infrastructure development and adequate rules to guarantee social and environmental protection;

92.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to conduct thorough, ex-ante and ex-post analyses on the basis of sector-by-sector and regional impact assessments for relevant trade agreements and legislative files, anticipating possible adverse impacts on the labour market within the EU, and finding more sophisticated ways of introducing mitigating measures to redevelop industries and regions that lose out, with a view to achieving a more equitable distribution and ensuring broad-based gains from trade; emphasises that, in this respect, the European Structural and Investment Funds, and, in particular, both the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, can play an outstanding role; points out that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund could also be an important instrument, if reformed and shaped in a way that it is adequately funded for providing assistance to EU companies and producers affected by trade-related sanctions vis-à-vis third countries, and assistance to employees of SMEs directly hurt by the effect of globalisation;

o
o   o

93.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee the Committee of the Regions, to UNCTAD and to the WTO.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0415.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0252.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0041.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0250.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0219.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0175.
(7) OJ C 56 E, 26.2.2013, p. 87.
(8) OJ C 188 E, 28.6.2012, p. 42.
(9) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 94.
(10) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 31.
(11) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 101.


The fight against trafficking in human beings in the EU’s external relations
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on the fight against trafficking in human beings in the EU’s external relations (2015/2340(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0300A8-0205/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all relevant international human rights treaties,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) and the Protocols thereto, and in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000), and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (2000),

–  having regard to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990),

–  having regard to the work of international human rights mechanisms, including the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and other relevant UN Special Rapporteurs, the Universal Periodic Review and the work of relevant UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (2014),

–  having regard to the global report on trafficking in persons (2014) by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,

–  having regard to the UN Model Law against Trafficking in Persons to assist countries in revising and amending existing legislation and to adopt new legislation to fight trafficking in human beings (2009),

–  having regard to the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking, presented to the Economic and Social Council as an addendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) (E/2002/68/Add. 1),

–  having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, implementing the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework,

–  having regard to the UN Basic Principles on the right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons,

–  having regard to the UNICEF Guidelines on the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking,

–  having regard to the ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No 29), the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No 105) and the Forced Labour (Supplementary Measures) Recommendation, 2014 (No 203),

–  having regard to the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No 138) and to the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No 182),

–  having regard to the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No 189) concerning decent work for domestic workers,

–  having regard to the ILO report Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour (2014),

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 5 thereof,

–  having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA,

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime,

–  having regard to Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells,

–  having regard to the Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human beings (2009) and its two implementation reports (2011 and 2012),

–  having regard to the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016),

–  having regard to the mid-term report on the implementation of the EU strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings (COM(2014)0635),

–  having regard to the work of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator,

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1),

–  having regard to the framework for the EU’s activities on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the EU’s external relations 2016-2020,

–  having regard to the Europol Situation Report of February 2016 entitled ‘Trafficking in human beings in the EU’,

–  having regard to the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM),

–  having regard to the European Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015,

–  having regard to the Action Plan of the Valetta Summit of November 2015,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005),

–  having regard to the latest general report on the activities of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), outlining the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (2014),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, open for signature since March 2015,

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine,

–  having regard to the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism (2008),

–  having regard to the OSCE’s Guiding Principles on Human Rights in the Return of Trafficked Persons (2014),

–  having regard to the report of the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (2011),

–  having regard to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption,

–  having regard to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Report of Activities on Counter-Trafficking and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants (2012),

–  having regard to the IOM report on addressing human trafficking and exploitation in times of crisis (2015),

–  having regard to the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2015),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0205/2016),

A.  whereas trafficking in human beings (THB), which forms part of organised crime, constitutes one of the worst forms of human rights abuses, as it reduces human beings to commodities and profoundly and durably violates the dignity, the integrity and the rights of the victim and affects entire families and communities, as well as deliberately abusing situations of vulnerability such as poverty or isolation;

B.  whereas trafficking in human beings is defined by the United Nations (Palermo Protocol) as the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation; whereas the exploitation includes, at a minimum, the forced prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, including child slavery for the purpose of recruiting child soldiers, servitude or the removal of organs; whereas this is a hateful practice, particularly where children are subject to the worst form of exploitation by human beings;

C.  whereas Article 2(a) of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, defines the term ‘sale of children’ as ‘any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration’;

D.  whereas according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2014) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 70 % of the total number of detected victims are women and girls; whereas women represent 79 % of the detected victims of sexual exploitation, which accounts for 53 % of the detected forms of exploitation globally and whereas men represent 83 % of detected victims of forced labour, which accounts for 40 % of the detected forms of exploitation globally;

E.  whereas complex and inter-related factors such as systematic and structural discrimination, human rights violations, poverty, inequality, corruption, violent conflict, land confiscation, lack of education, unemployment and dysfunctional labour migration regimes increase the vulnerability of persons to exploitation and abuse as they are left with reduced choices and resources; whereas the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 identifies violence against women as a root cause of trafficking;

F.  whereas trafficking in human beings constitutes a gendered crime; whereas women and girls also make up an important percentage of the victims of other forms of trafficking in human beings such as forced exploitation in the domestic and care work, manufacturing, food, cleaning and other sectors;

G.  whereas human trafficking is one of the most profitable organised criminal activities in the world, alongside the trade in illegal drugs and arms; whereas according to the ILO’s most recent estimates, the illicit annual profit from forced labour, including through money laundering, is about USD 150 billion, in which 90 % of victims are estimated to be exploited in the private economy and two thirds of the profits stem from commercial sexual exploitation, making it the most lucrative form of exploitation;

H.  whereas trafficking in human beings must be understood from both a demand and profit perspective, as the exploitation of women especially for sexual services is fuelled by the demand for such services and the profit being made;

I.  whereas the inadequate implementation of the legal framework on trafficking in human beings at national level and the lack of a corresponding legal framework in third countries are one of the most significant barriers to combating human trafficking;

J.  whereas access to justice for victims of trafficking in human beings ranges from simply being problematic to it being denied; whereas corruption and lack of capacity remain a major problem for police and judiciary organisations in many countries;

K.  whereas, according to Europol, the spread of internet access throughout the world allows trafficking to flourish increasingly in the online environment; whereas this encourages new forms of recruitment and exploitation of victims;

L.  whereas there is a link between trafficking in migrants and trafficking in human beings; whereas people-trafficking networks rely, inter alia, on the internet to advertise their services to potential migrants;

M.  whereas regrettably, trafficking in human beings and people smuggling are not a transient phenomenon and may even increase further in the years to come because conflict zones, repressive regimes or economic situations around the world are breeding grounds for the criminal activities of traffickers in human beings and people smugglers;

N.  whereas illegal migration flows increase the risks of trafficking since irregular migrants – by virtue of their vulnerability and clandestinity – are particularly at risk of being trafficked; whereas, among these migrants, unaccompanied minors, who account for a large share of the migrants arriving in Europe, are a target group for trafficking networks;

O.  whereas human trafficking is a regional and global problem which cannot always be dealt with exclusively at national level;

P.  whereas according to the latest Global Slavery Index, 35,8 million persons are estimated to be trapped in situations of modern slavery worldwide, meaning that trafficking in human beings is endemic in nature and affects all parts of the world;

Q.  whereas past and emerging trends in trafficking in human beings take various forms and vary greatly between regions as well as within subregions;

R.  whereas trafficking in human beings is not a phenomenon that is confined to countries that are considered less developed but is also to be found, in a more hidden form, in developed countries;

S.  whereas according to the ILO, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 56 % of the estimated number of victims of forced labour globally, including for sexual exploitation, which accounts for by far the largest share worldwide;

T.  whereas an estimated 300 000 children are involved in armed conflicts around the world; whereas child trafficking in Africa, for the purpose of child soldiering, is the highest in the world;

U.  whereas, in North Africa and the Middle East, 95 % of detected victims are adults; whereas countries in the Middle East are primarily destination countries for migrant workers, in which the so-called Kafala sponsorship system ties workers to a specific employer, creating conditions for abuse and labour exploitation, sometimes amounting to forced labour;

V.  whereas in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood countries, sexual exploitation is the main cause of the reported trafficking in human beings; whereas systematic discrimination and racism lead to the Roma communities – including both men and women – being particularly vulnerable to trafficking for various purposes;

W.  whereas cooperation between the Member States, Europol and the countries of origin and transit of trafficking victims is an essential tool in the fight against trafficking networks;

X.  whereas the EU has identified a number of priority countries and regions with the objective of further strengthening and streamlining cooperation on action against trafficking in human beings;

Y.  whereas the Commission appointed an EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in 2010 to improve coordination and coherence among EU institutions, agencies, Member States, non-EU countries and international actors;

Global trends in trafficking of human beings

1.  Denounces and explicitly rejects trafficking in human beings, which represents a growing industry of human suffering, affecting all societies and economies in a profound and enduring manner;

2.  Underlines the fact that trafficking in human beings is a modern kind of slavery, and a serious crime which constitutes one of the worst forms of human rights violations that cannot be accepted in societies that are based on the respect for human rights including gender equality; believes, moreover that trafficking in human beings, has to be understood in a holistic manner, focusing not only on sexual exploitation, but also on forced labour, organ trafficking, forced begging, forced marriages, child soldiers and the trafficking of babies;

3.  Recalls that trafficking in human beings is a transnational crime of global nature and that any measures aimed at fighting it should take into account the root causes and global trends; emphasises in this respect the importance of a consistent approach to the the internal and external dimensions of the EU’s policies for combating trafficking in human beings;

4.  Recognises that trafficking in human beings as an organised crime occurs both across external borders as well as within internal borders thereby necessitating robust internal laws against trafficking in human beings as well as cooperation between countries;

5.  Deplores the persistent lack of adequate legislation to criminalise and effectively combat trafficking in human beings in many countries worldwide;

6.  Deplores furthermore the wide gap between the legislation that does exist and implementation thereof, including on the one hand the limited or non-existent access to justice for victims and on the other hand the lack of prosecution of perpetrators;

7.  Deplores in particular the fact that the identification of victims remains far below the estimates of those in situations of trafficking and that the prosecution rates remain extremely low; remains deeply concerned by the fact that a large number of victims of trafficking are left without adequate support, protection, and measures aimed at redressing violations of their fundamental rights;

8.  Recalls that victims of trafficking are often ‘invisible people’ in the country where they are being exploited, that they face difficulties caused by cultural and language diversity and that all this renders it even more difficult for them to denounce the crimes of which they are victims; denounces the fact that these difficulties are even more severe for particularly vulnerable categories of victims, such as women and children;

9.  Stresses that demand for sexual services in developed countries drives trafficking in human beings from developing countries, placing people in a position of vulnerability, particularly women and girls; calls on the Member States to criminalise the knowing use of the services of a victim of trafficking in human beings;

10.  Recalls that groups organised at international level transport victims – either clandestinely or with the consent of their victims, who have been deceived by false promises – to richer regions particularly for sex trafficking, the list being headed by European countries where there are wealthier clients;

11.  Denounces the fact that more than 10 000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children have disappeared in Europe according to the press declaration by the Europol Chief of staff; draws the attention of the EU and the Member States to the fact that many among those children have been forced into sex trafficking rings, begging, the illicit and lucrative organ transplant market or the slave trade;

12.  Underscores the critical distinction that needs to be made between the concepts of trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling; while noting that smuggling is also among the activities of criminal networks and organised crime and can lead to a situation of trafficking, underlines however that the two concepts require different legal and practical responses and involve different state obligations; urges the EU and its Member States to train personnel charged with reception and identification of migrants/asylum seekers using specific awareness-raising programmes devoted to correctly distinguishing between smuggling and trafficking in human beings, in particular with regard to the identification and protection of child victims of trafficking and unaccompanied children at risk of trafficking;

13.  Recalls that migrants have consented to the smuggling, which ends with their arrival at their destination, contrary to victims of trafficking, who are exploited by means of coercion, deception and abuse, without any possibility of consent; underlines the fact that there can also be a crossover between the two, because of the risk that criminals groups smuggling refugees and other migrants into the EU might force them into exploitation as victims of trafficking in human beings, in particular unaccompanied minors and women travelling alone; urges the competent authorities in the Member States to pay attention to this overlap during their police, judicial-cooperation and law-enforcement activities;

14.  Observes that the internet and social networks are increasingly being used by criminal networks to recruit and exploit victims; calls for the EU and the Member States, therefore, in their efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, to invest enough in technology and expertise to identify, trace and combat misuse of the internet by criminal networks, both to recruit victims and to offer services whose aim is to exploit victims;

15.  Recognises the importance and the role of information and communication technologies in trafficking in human beings and that while technology is used to facilitate recruitment and exploitation of the victims, it can also be used as a tool to prevent trafficking in human beings; considers that more research should focus on the role of information and communications technologies in relation to trafficking in human beings;

16.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the use of the internet in the context of human trafficking, particularly as regards online sexual exploitation; requests that the fight against online trafficking be enhanced by Europol within the framework of the EU IRU (Internet Referral Unit) in order to detect, report and remove online material on trafficking;

17.  Asks the Commission to adjust its cooperation with third countries to take into consideration the new development of trafficking via the internet; calls on the Commission and Europol to consider the possibilities of cooperation between the European anti-cybercrime bodies (especially in the framework of Europol) and those of third countries; requests that the Commission also consider all useful means of cooperation with internet service providers with a view to the detection and combating of trafficking-related online content; requests that the Commission keep Parliament duly informed;

The economy of trafficking in human beings

18.  Denounces the fact that trafficking in human beings is a highly lucrative business and that the proceeds from this criminal activity are largely re-injected into the global economy and financial system; denounces the fact that the most structured and powerful international criminal organisations are involved in trafficking in human beings and have created a real international and branched criminal network; calls on all states and relevant actors engaged in this field to aim to change trafficking from a ‘low risk/high reward’ business to a ‘high risk/low reward’ one;

19.  Is of the view that financial investigations, which trace, seize and recover criminal assets, and action against money laundering play a crucial role in combating trafficking; recalls that there is a need for more data and a stronger focus on money laundering activities; deplores the fact that the use of measures to collect, analyse and share financial information to support criminal investigations of trafficking in human beings remains limited and often creates difficulties in fully integrating financial investigations into cases of trafficking in human beings; calls for the EU and its Member States to reinforce cooperation, coordination and sharing of information with third countries to locate and confiscate the proceeds from those criminal activities; calls for confiscated assets to be used to support and compensate victims of trafficking;

20.  Calls on governments to exercise due diligence in tackling corruption, which contributes to trafficking in human beings and to identify and eradicate public sector involvement or complicity in trafficking in human beings, including by ensuring that those working within the public sector are trained to recognise such cases and have internal guidelines to assist them in dealing with suspicious cases;

21.  Recalls that recruitment-related abuses appear to occur in many countries and regions worldwide and, irrespective of the countries in which they occur, notes that such abuses are closely linked with trafficking in human beings either by recruitment agencies being directly involved in trafficking in human beings through deceptive or coercive recruitment practices or by creating vulnerabilities for exploitive work by demanding high recruitment fees, making migrants and low-skilled workers, in particular, financially vulnerable or dependent;

22.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to increase cooperation with third countries in order to investigate all stages of trafficking in human beings, including at the recruitment stage, to improve the exchange of information, and to launch proactive operations, (financial) investigations and prosecutions; calls on all states to improve oversight and regulation of recruitment agencies;

23.  Considers that there can be no valid consent in a situation where a third-country national is removed from her or his country and brought to the EU (or when an EU national is taken to another Member State) for the purposes of prostitution, any other form of sexual exploitation or forced labour;

24.  Considers that governments should encourage multi-stakeholder dialogue and partnerships to bring together businesses, anti-trafficking experts and NGOs and carry out joint actions against human trafficking and to ensure workers have their rights upheld, including their core labour rights; calls also on governments to put in place legal measures to guarantee transparency and traceability of supply chain products and for companies to better report their efforts to eradicate human trafficking from their supply chains; calls for the EU and the Member States to actively engage with national and international companies to ensure that their products along the entire supply chain are free from exploitation and to hold them accountable for trafficking in human beings occurring at any point along their supply chain, including for affiliated companies and sub-contractors;

25.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to constructively engage in the negotiations of the open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights and to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;

Different forms of exploitation

26.  Urges the EU and the Member States to make the necessary efforts to combat forced labour in EU industries abroad, and in relation to third countries, by applying and enforcing labour standards and supporting governments in adopting labour laws providing minimum protection standards for workers, including foreign workers and to ensure that European companies operating in third countries respect these standards; urges governments to enforce labour laws, treat all workers fairly, guaranteeing the same rights to all workers irrespective of their nationality or origin and root out corruption; calls for further international cooperation to strengthen labour migration policies and to elaborate and implement better regulation of labour recruiters;

27.  Calls for increased global compliance with the ILO core labour and environmental standards at all stages, including through enhancing social security and labour inspections; calls also for the ratification and implementation of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No 189) and the translation of its provisions into national legislation, including for domestic workers in diplomatic households;

28.  Emphasises that the clear link between trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes and prostitution calls for measures to be put in place to put an end to the demand for prostitution;

29.  Points out that in most Member States victims of forced prostitution find it difficult to obtain access to psychological care and consequently have to rely almost entirely on the support of charitable organisations; calls, therefore, for such organisations to be given greater backing, and calls on the Member States to break down the barriers to access to psychological care;

30.  Stresses that forced marriage can be seen as a form of trafficking in human beings if it contains an element of exploitation of the victim, and calls on all Member States to include this dimension in their definition of trafficking in human beings; stresses that exploitation may be sexual (marital rape, forced prostitution and pornography) or economic (domestic work and forced begging), and that the ultimate aim of trafficking can be forced marriage (selling a victim as a spouse or entering into a marriage under duress); recalls the potential transnational character of forced marriage; calls therefore on the Member States to ensure that the national authorities in charge of migration are adequately trained in the issue of forced marriage in the context of trafficking; calls on the Commission to also strengthen the exchange of best practices in this regard;

31.  Condemns the practice of trafficking in human beings for forced surrogacy as a violation of the woman’s rights and the rights of the child; notes that demand is driven by developed countries at the expense of vulnerable and poor people often in developing countries, and asks the Member States to consider the implications of their own restrictive reproductive policies;

32.  Insists that children who are victims of trafficking in human beings be identified as such and their best interests, rights and needs be considered paramount at all times; calls for the provision of legal, physical, and psychological and other support and protection both in the short and in the long term and for measures to be taken to facilitate family reunification where applicable and in the best interest and with respect for the dignity and rights of the child or for adequate care arrangements to be made;

33.  Recalls that child trafficking often leads to cases of sexual abuse, prostitution, forced labour or organ harvesting and trafficking and stresses that no possible consent to perform labour or services should ever be considered valid for a trafficked child; deplores the fact that children at risk are frequently treated as offenders or irregular migrants by law enforcement officials who do not systematically look for indicators of human trafficking to identify victims;

34.  Believes that it is essential as regards unaccompanied minors to achieve a better and more proactive identification of child victims of trafficking, in particular at border crossings and in reception centres, as well as a stronger multi-disciplinary cooperation to ensure the best interests of the child are effectively protected; deems it necessary to strengthen guardianship systems in the Member States to prevent unaccompanied and separated children from falling into the hands of organised trafficking organisations;

35.  Calls for the strengthening of national guardianship systems for children in Europe, as part of the EU’s anti-trafficking strategy which recognises the vital role guardians play in protecting children from harm;

36.  Urges the EU to continue its efforts to combat the phenomenon of child soldiers, notably through supporting governments in addressing this issue and local civil society groups active on the ground, to put in place measures to prevent future recruitment and use of child soldiers, to support the development of child protection legislation including the criminalisation of child recruitment and to mobilise resources to build resilience and strengthen protective environments for children; calls for the EU to urge third countries to ratify and implement relevant international standards, including the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict;

37.  Stresses that children and persons with disabilities should be considered as vulnerable victims of human trafficking; highlights the fact that victims of human trafficking may develop disabilities as a result of abuse at the hands of their trafficker, while conversely, an individual who has a disability may be targeted by a trafficker because of that vulnerability;

38.  Welcomes the inclusion of forced begging as a form of trafficking in human beings under Directive 2011/36/EU; urges the Member States to harmonise national legislation and to solicit third-country governments to enact and enforce legal provisions in this regard; condemns any criminalisation of victims of forced begging and calls for access to job opportunities and housing; insists on the need to conduct training for police and other officials for proper identification and referral in order to secure adequate assistance for the victims of forced begging; underlines that many of the victims come from a poor and marginalised environment; calls for prevention measures to be focused on reducing the vulnerability of groups at risk, starting with basic structures such as education or labour integration and on increasing the number of shelters and places to assist vulnerable persons;

39.  Stresses that the UN Palermo Protocol requires the criminalisation of bonded labour as a form of trafficking; urges the governments to enforce the law and to ensure that those who profit from bonded labour are punished;

40.  Notes the development of a new form of human trafficking where individuals are being trafficked for ransom with severe torture practices; notes that this new form of commoditisation of human beings is characterised by extortion, beatings and rape as a means of enforcing payment of debts from family and relatives residing inside and outside the EU;

41.  Condemns trafficking in human organs, tissue, and cells, including the unlawful trade in reproductive cells (ova, sperm), foetal tissue and cells, and adult and embryonic stem cells;

42.  Emphasises that, according to a report by Global Financial Integrity, the human organ trade is one of the world’s top ten illegal money-making activities, generating profits between USD 600 million and USD 1,2 billion per year and spanning numerous countries; stresses further that, according to the United Nations, people of all ages could be targets, but migrants, homeless people and those who cannot read are particularly vulnerable;

43.  Stresses that economic stagnation, loopholes in legislation and deficiencies in law enforcement in developing countries combined with increasing globalisation and improved communication technology create the perfect space for the criminal enterprise of illicit organ trafficking; points out that the lack of economic opportunity forces people to consider options they might otherwise find dangerous or reprehensible, while inadequate law enforcement enables traffickers to operate with little fear of being prosecuted;

44.  Stresses that the purchase of human organs, tissues and cells is illegal; notes that people trafficked for organ removal face particular challenges, and that victims are often unaware of the long-term and debilitating medical consequences of organ removal and the lack of post-operative care, as well as the psychological impact of the operation; calls for better targeted awareness-raising initiatives to raise the profile of the harm associated with the sale of organs, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable, who may view the sale of an organ as a price worth paying for a better economic situation;

45.  Calls on the Commission to condemn trafficking in human beings whose purpose is the removal of organs and adopt a clear attitude towards the illegal trade in organs, tissues and cells; calls on the EU to encourage medical associations and transplant societies to develop a Code of Ethical Conduct for health professionals and transplant centres regarding the way of obtaining an organ transplant abroad and the procedure for post-transplant care; points out the citizens of the world’s most impoverished communities are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of illicit organ trafficking;

46.  Calls for the ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs; asks the EU to call on third-country governments to take legal action against health care professionals, hospitals and private clinics who are operating in the illicit and lucrative organ transplant market;

47.  Calls on Member States to encourage further efforts to engage the medical community in improving efforts to combat this form of trafficking through raising awareness of the issues surrounding trafficking and providing mandatory training;

48.  Stresses the importance of prevention and of a multi-sector, multi-disciplinary approach in addressing illicit human organ procurement, including human trafficking for organ removal, which has developed into a global problem; calls for better targeted awareness-raising initiatives to raise the profile of the harm associated with the sale of organs, to better inform the victims and potential victims of the physical and psychological risks, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable in respect of inequality and poverty, who may view the sale of an organ as a price worth paying for a better economic situation; highlights the fact that the awareness campaigns should be a required element of both European Neighbourhood Policy and EU development cooperation;

49.  Points out the importance of the role of doctors, nurses, social workers and other medical professionals, who are unique in their professional contact with victims when in detention and play a key role in preventing people trafficking; is concerned that at the moment this is a missed opportunity for intervention; notes the need to train the medical community to detect the warning signs of human trafficking and in reporting procedures in order to better assist victims, and to put in place stringent penalties for any involvement in the illegal trafficking in organs;

50.  Encourages presumed consent programmes to be put in place in various countries or schemes whereby citizens are given the option of directly joining an organ-donor register when completing certain administrative procedures, thereby decreasing patients’ reliance on the black market, while at the same time increasing the number of organs available in order to cut the financial cost of a transplant and to decrease the attraction of medical tourism;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take measures to prevent ‘transplant tourism’ by adopting measures that increase the availability of legally procured organs with a view to enhancing the prevention of illicit organ procurement and to set up a transparent system for traceability of transplanted organs, while ensuring the anonymity of donors; calls on the Commission to draw up guidelines to encourage the participation of the Member States in collaborative partnerships such as Eurotransplant and Scandiatransplant;

52.  Points out that, according to the World Health Organisation, there is limited scientific data on trafficking and health, particularly concerning mental and psychological health; also points out that the needs of victims and survivors are often underestimated; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the relevant authorities of the Member States to set up a monitoring system and to disseminate information on the consequences of trafficking and victims’ needs in terms of both physical and psychological health;

Victims’ rights including the right to remedy

53.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to have a human rights-based and victim-centred approach and to place victims and vulnerable populations at the centre of all efforts in the fight against trafficking in human beings, its prevention and the protection of victims;

54.  Denounces worrying gaps between state obligations and the extent to which they are met in practice when it comes to victims’ rights; welcomes Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime; hopes that the directive has been properly transposed by the Member States, given that the deadline for its implementation was 16 November 2015; calls on the Member States, including countries of origin, transit and destination, to provide or facilitate access to remedies that are fair, adequate and appropriate to all trafficked persons within their respective territories and subject to their respective jurisdictions, including non-citizens;

55.  Recalls that the swift and accurate identification of victims is fundamental to the realisation of the rights to which they are legally entitled; insists that capacity-building measures be taken in relation to the identification of victims of trafficking in human beings especially for migration, security and border control services;

56.  Calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to exchange best practices with third countries, firstly, on the training of police authorities and aid workers in how to best approach victims, and secondly, on applying the principle of individual assessment of victims to determine their specific needs for help and protection;

57.  Stresses the importance of the principle of mutual recognition enshrined in Article 82(1) TFEU; calls on the Commission, Member States and EU agencies to strengthen the status of victims of trafficking through full mutual recognition of judicial and administrative decisions, including those related to protection measures for victims of human trafficking, which means that the status of a victim, once established in a Member State, has to be applicable within the whole European Union and hence victims (or associations representing them) should be helped and assisted in case of non-recognition of their status when they are travelling within the Union;

58.  Insists that the criminal justice response should guarantee equal and effective access to justice for victims and information about their legal rights; calls on all states to comply with their international obligation to uphold the rights of victims in their jurisdiction, to ensure full support for victims, including by providing psychological support, irrespective of their willingness to cooperate in criminal proceedings;

59.  Affirms that victims of trafficking have the right to an effective remedy, including access to justice, recognition of legal identity and citizenship, return of property, adequate reparation as well as medical and psychological care, legal and social services, and long-term (re)integration support, including economic support;

60.  Notes the importance of universal access to healthcare and to sexual and reproductive health, particularly for victims of trafficking in human beings, who may struggle with many physical and psychological problems as a direct result of their exploitation; calls on the Member States to create easy-to-access healthcare services and after care for victims of trafficking in human beings;

61.  Calls on Member States in which the exploitation of victims of trafficking in human beings has taken place to offer adequate and necessary gender-sensitive medical treatment based on individual needs, paying special attention to victims of trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation;

62.  Notes that persons with disabilities or who suffer disabilities during the passage of trafficking need additional protection from exploitation and calls for the EU and Member States to ensure that assistance provided to identified victims appropriately addresses their specific needs;

63.  Emphasises the need to reintegrate victims of trafficking and to uphold their right to protection; calls on the Member States to create and strengthen networks of centres providing support and shelter, and to ensure the provision of services, in a language that the victim can understand, and to provide them with access to education; calls for a collaborative effort with regard to social inclusion and the provision of assistance among NGOs, international organisations, governmental bodies and agencies from destination and source countries, particularly in situations where victims return to their home countries;

64.  Stresses the importance of ensuring the safety of victims of trafficking in human beings who testify in court against human traffickers;

65.  Calls for more attention to be paid to victims in criminal proceedings; calls on the competent authorities not to detain trafficked persons and not to put them at risk of being punished for offences committed in the context of their situation as victims of trafficking in human beings, in particular in the case of prostitution, any other form of sexual exploitation or forced labour; calls on the Member States to respect the principle of non-criminalisation;

66.  Calls on the Member States to implement legal instruments which facilitate the possibilities for victims of trafficking in human beings to contact the authorities without endangering their own safety and their rights as a victim;

67.  Calls on the Member States to implement without delay Directive 2011/36/EU and in particular Article 8 thereof, in addition to all relevant legal frameworks on trafficking in human beings; urges the Commission to take legal action against Member States that fail to implement it, and to publish as soon as possible the implementation report which was due in April 2015;

68.  Calls on governments to put in place firewalls between immigration authorities and labour inspectorates, in order to encourage victims to lodge complaints and to ensure that if cases of trafficking in human beings are detected there is no fear of action being taken by immigration authorities against victims;

69.  Calls on the Member States to criminalise the act of using any services of a victim of trafficking in human beings by their citizens if such an act is committed outside the Member State and/or outside the EU, including prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the exploitation of criminal activities or the removal of organs;

70.  Considers that being a refugee, an asylum seeker, a humanitarian visa holder or a person in need of international protection should be considered as a vulnerability factor in the case of human trafficking victims; calls on the Member States to ensure that law-enforcement authorities and asylum authorities cooperate in order to help human trafficking victims in need of international protection to lodge an application for protection; reaffirms that measures taken against human trafficking should not adversely affect the rights of victims of trafficking, migrants, refugees and persons in need of international protection;

71.  Calls on the Member States to implement gender-sensitive measures in order to improve the identification of victims of trafficking in human beings in asylum and return procedures, to keep more detailed and gender-disaggregated records and to ensure that such victims are also referred to appropriate support options;

72.  Reminds the Member States that Directive 2011/36/EU is without prejudice to the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees;

73.  Encourages the Member States to guarantee asylum seekers who are victims of trafficking the same rights as those afforded to other victims of trafficking;

74.  Notes that, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the return of migrants and refugees carries inherent security risks with regard to re-trafficking that must be identified, assessed and mitigated against since the risk posed to trafficked migrants by their exploiters often increases when they have managed to escape, have interacted with law enforcement officials, or have testified in court(2);

75.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to make the fight against human trafficking more visible to the public, with a particular focus on airports, train stations, buses, schools, universities and relevant workplaces; calls for the EU and the Member States to raise awareness among their public officials about the EU Guidelines for the identification of victims of trafficking in human beings and about the Commission publication on the EU rights of victims of trafficking in human beings, and encourages the active use thereof;

76.  Encourages targeted funding by the EU for local NGOs to identify and support victims of trafficking in human beings as well as raising awareness among populations vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking; welcomes in this context the role of media which can help raise awareness and give information about risks;

Cooperation against trafficking in human beings at regional and international level

77.  Is concerned by the insufficient level of international co-operation on cases of trafficking in human beings, particularly where countries of origin and countries of transit are involved, and that such a situation poses a significant impediment to effectively combating trafficking in human beings; calls for enhanced coordination and cooperation and the systematic exchange of information to investigate and combat transnational trafficking in human beings, stepping up financial and technical assistance and strengthening cross-border communication, cooperation and capacity building at government and law enforcement level, including border guards, immigration and asylum officials, criminal investigators and victim support agencies, civil society and UN agencies, including on how to identify and protect victims and to discuss ways of dealing with countries of origin, transit and destination which have not ratified the UN Palermo Protocol; calls on the EU to develop a regional approach, concentrating on the ‘trafficking routes’ and offering responses which are adapted to the type of exploitation in the different regions; underlines in addition the usefulness of international exchange programmes for anti-trafficking professionals;

78.  Calls on the Commission, the competent EU agencies and the Member States to develop gender-specific training for staff working in law and border enforcement services in order to better identify and assist potential victims of trafficking, in particular trafficking for sexual exploitation;

79.  Insists on the need for the EU to enhance police and judicial cooperation between Member States and with third countries – in particular with countries of origin and transit of victims of trafficking in human beings – in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of trafficking in human beings, in particular via Europol and Eurojust, including information sharing, particularly with regard to known trafficking routes, participation in joint investigation teams and in combating the recruitment of people for trafficking in human beings through the internet and other digital means; stresses the importance of systematic exchanges of data by Member States and their input into Europol’s data bases, Focal Point Phoenix and Focal Point Twins; encourages greater cooperation between Europol and Interpol in the fight against trafficking in human beings and recalls that exchanges of data between Member States and with third countries should fully respect EU standards on data protection; calls on the Member States to collect more comparable data on the fight against trafficking in human beings and to improve the exchange of data between them and with third countries;

80.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to provide their law enforcement and police agencies with the necessary staff and resources for the agencies to be able to also receive information from families or other sources, to exchange this information with the relevant European and national authorities and to properly treat and analyse this information;

81.  Stresses the fact that transit countries are crucial in the fight against human trafficking, as the exploitation of the victims has not yet begun at this phase; stresses the importance of providing border police officers with additional training in order to improve their identification skills;

82.  Underlines the numerous challenges linked to cross-border labour migration, particularly the risk of migrants being illegalised and deprived of their most fundamental rights; calls for the establishment of cross-border labour migration mechanisms in the EU and at international level in order to increase and formalise regular labour migration;

83.  Recognises the efforts made by the EU in creating formalised cross-border labour migration channels, which should receive more attention, and calls for more coherent and reinforced efforts in this regard; underscores the potential of formalised labour migration as a means of preventing trafficking in human beings and to save lives;

84.  Urges the EU to strengthen its cooperation with NGOs and other relevant international organisations, including by ensuring adequate funding and coordinated assistance, in order to increase the exchange of best practices, the development of policies, implementation, and to increase research, including with local actors, notably focusing on access to justice for victims and prosecution of perpetrators;

85.  Recalls that, in accordance with Directive 2011/36/EU, the Member States should encourage and work closely with civil society organisations, in particular in policy-making initiatives, information and awareness-raising campaigns, research and education programmes and in training, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the impact of anti-trafficking measures; points out furthermore that NGOs should also assist with regard to the early identification of, assistance to and support for victims; insists that Member States should ensure that NGOs are protected from retaliations, threats, and intimidations and even more that they are exempted from criminal prosecutions when they assist victims of trafficking who are in an irregular situation;

86.  Calls for the EU, the Member States and the international community to give particular attention to the issue of preventing and combating trafficking in human beings in humanitarian crisis environments such as natural disasters and armed conflicts, in order to decrease victims’ vulnerability to traffickers and other criminal networks; emphasises that protection must be granted to all those entitled to it in accordance with international and regional conventions;

87.  Highlights the fact that people who, for reasons of sudden or progressive climate-related change that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes have a high risk of falling victim to human trafficking; emphasises that this type of human mobility related to climate change has a strong economic dimension, including the loss of livelihoods and reductions in household income, so there is a direct threat that the people concerned will be vulnerable to becoming victims of forced labour or slavery;

EU policy on trafficking in human beings in its external action

88.  Recognises and supports the work of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator established to improve coordination and coherence among the EU institutions, agencies, and the Member States with third countries and international actors and urges the Coordinator to further develop concrete joint action and measures among the EU, the Member States, third countries and international actors so as to set up a more coherent and efficient cooperation in establishing systems that identify, protect and assist victims of trafficking, step up the prevention of trafficking in human beings, seek increased prosecution of traffickers and establish a network capable of responding to emerging concerns;

89.  Urges the EU to make the necessary efforts at international level to prevent and suppress the slave trade, to bring about, progressively and as soon as possible, the complete abolition of slavery in all its forms;

90.  Considers it essential that strategies aimed at the prevention of trafficking in human beings address the facilitating factors and the underlining causes and circumstances behind this phenomenon and follow an integrated approach which brings together different actors, mandates and perspectives, both nationally and internationally; takes the view that prevention strategies should include actions to address poverty, oppression, lack of respect for human rights, armed conflict and economic and social inequalities, and should be aimed at reducing the vulnerability of potential victims, discouraging the demand for the services of the trafficked persons, which can also be considered a root cause, increasing public education and eradicating corruption of public officials; calls also on all states to effectively implement their obligations under the Palermo Protocol;

91.  Calls on the Member States to ratify all relevant international instruments, agreements and legal obligations, including the Istanbul Convention, and to step up efforts to make the fight against trafficking in human beings more effective, coordinated and coherent; encourages the EU to call for the ratification of all relevant international instruments;

92.  Calls on EU representatives to pay particular attention to trafficking in human beings in the EU’s political dialogue with third countries, and also through its cooperation programmes and within multilateral and regional fora, including through public statements;

93.  Calls on the EU to review its assistance programmes regarding trafficking in human beings, to make funding more targeted and to make trafficking in human beings an area of cooperation in its own right; in that context encourages the increase of resources for services dealing with trafficking in human beings within the EU institutions; urges the Commission to regularly re-evaluate its list of priority countries, including the selection criteria, to ensure that it reflects the realities on the ground and to make them more flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and emerging trends;

94.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, when stepping up legal measures against trafficking in human beings, to also widen the definition of trafficking in human beings by introducing references to new means of trafficking within its scope;

95.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to implement the actions relating to the fight against trafficking in the current EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and in line with the EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings;

96.  Calls on the Commission to assess the need to review the mandate of the future European Public Prosecutor’s Office to include powers, once established, to tackle human trafficking;

97.  Calls for EU policy against trafficking in human beings to be made more effective by being more deeply embedded within the wider EU strategies on security, equality between women and men, economic growth, cybersecurity, migration and external relations;

98.  Calls for all EU institutions and the Member States to pursue a coherent policy both internally and externally by placing, in line with the fundamental values of the Union, human rights at the centre of the EU’s relations with all third countries and to use economic and trade relations, in particular, as a means of leverage;

99.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that human rights, gender equality and the fight against trafficking in human beings remain at the heart of the EU’s development policies and partnerships with third countries; calls on the Commission to introduce gender-sensitive measures when creating new development policies and when reviewing existing policies;

100.  Stresses that the economic and social empowerment of women and girls would reduce their vulnerability to becoming victims, and calls on the Commission to continue its targeted action on mainstreaming gender equality in all development operations and ensuring that it remains, together with women’s rights, on the agenda during political dialogue with third countries;

101.  Stresses the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 5.2 which calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation;

102.  Calls on the EU to support third countries in their efforts to increase the identification, assistance and reintegration of victims and prosecutions for trafficking in human beings, putting in place and implementing adequate legislation, and harmonising legal definitions, procedures and cooperation in line with international standards;

103.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure that law enforcement personnel, including those in agencies such as Frontex, Europol, and EASO, as well as other officials likely to come into contact with victims or potential victims of trafficking in human beings are provided with adequate training to be able to deal with cases of trafficking in human beings, with an integrated intersectional perspective, with an emphasis on the special needs of trafficked women, children and other groups in vulnerable situations such as Roma and refugees and on how to provide incentives and full protection for victims of trafficking in human beings and for others to report traffickers;

104.  Believes that trafficking victims from third countries must be identified at the earliest possible stage in the network and that greater efforts must therefore be made at the borders to identify victims as they enter the EU; calls on the Member States to work with third countries in improving existing guidelines which can help consular services and border guards in the identification of victims of human trafficking and underlines in this respect the importance of exchange of best practices, in particular with regard to interviews at the borders; stresses also the need for border guards and coastguards to have access to Europol databases;

105.  Calls on the Member States to enhance cooperation with third countries in order to combat all forms of trafficking in human beings, paying particular attention to the gender dimension of trafficking in human beings to specifically combat child marriage, the sexual exploitation of women and girls and sex tourism; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to redouble efforts under the Khartoum Process by running more dedicated projects and ensuring the active participation of a greater number of countries;

106.  Asks that the Commission, the Council and the EEAS in their negotiations with third countries on international agreements, re-admission agreements and cooperation agreements, place an emphasis on the need for third countries to effectively combat human trafficking, increase prosecutions of perpetrators and enhance protection for victims;

107.  Urges the EU to effectively focus its efforts on both addressing trafficking in human beings and fighting smuggling; urges the EU and the Member States to invest in the identification of victims of human trafficking among refugees and migrants and among victims of violations and abuse as part of smuggling operations, controlled by criminal networks;

108.  Underlines the necessity of preparatory work and training for international civilian police missions as well as the training of diplomats, liaison officers and consular and development cooperation officers in order to improve the identification of victims of human trafficking; considers training for these groups to be necessary, because they are often the first contact point for victims of trafficking, and that action should be taken in order to ensure that these officials have access to adequate material to inform persons at risk of becoming victims of trafficking;

109.  Recalls that the rolling out on 7 October 2015 of the second phase of EUNAVFOR MED, also known as Operation Sophia, has made it possible to take concrete action against the trafficking of human beings as it authorises the boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking; recalls that, so far, 48 suspected smugglers and traffickers have been arrested and are being dealt with under the Italian justice system; calls on the EU to continue and to step up its operations in the Mediterranean;

110.  Calls on the EU to find tangible solutions regarding legal, regular, non-exploitative and safe ways into the EU for migrants and refugees; reminds the Member States and the EU that they must comply with international law, including the principle of non-refoulement, in all their policies and in particular those on migration; recalls that safe voluntary return should be guaranteed to trafficked persons by the receiving state and state of origin, and legal alternatives in cases where repatriation would pose a risk to their safety and/or of their family; maintains that the receiving state and state of origin must guarantee the necessary conditions of safety and reintegration for the victims upon return;

111.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to respect the United Nations Charter and the principles of asylum law;

112.  Calls on the EU to promote programmes supporting the inclusion of migrants and refugees with the involvement of key actors from third countries, and also of cultural mediators, to be helpful in raising the level of awareness of communities on trafficking and making them more resilient to the penetration of organised crime;

113.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to make efforts to protect and find all refugees or migrants, particularly children, who have gone missing after arriving on European soil;

114.  Commends the work of Europol, in particular through the Focal Point Twins, in detecting people travelling to third countries in order to commit child abuse; calls on the Member States to cooperate with Europol by ensuring a systematic and rapid exchange of data;

115.  Recalls that before concluding a visa liberalisation agreement, the Commission must assess the risks posed by the third country concerned particularly with regard to illegal immigration; emphasises that trafficking networks may also use legal channels for migration; asks the Commission therefore to include the effective cooperation of the relevant third countries with regard to trafficking among the criteria to be met for any visa liberalisation agreement;

116.  Points out that the EU needs a binding and mandatory legislative approach to resettlement, as set out in the Commission’s agenda for migration; points out that humanitarian admission can be used as a complement to resettlement in order to give urgent protection, often on a temporary basis, to the most vulnerable where needed, e.g. unaccompanied minors or refugees with disabilities, or those in need of urgent medical evacuation;

117.  Calls on the EU to share with third countries the elaboration of a standardised system for the collection of qualitative and quantitative data and analysis of trafficking in human beings in order to develop a common or at least comparable template in EU and third countries for the collection and analysis of data relating to all aspects of trafficking in human beings; urges the need for allocation of sufficient funds for data collection and research on trafficking in human being;

118.  Encourages the EU to develop a new post-2016 anti-trafficking strategy with a stronger and more targeted external dimension, which gives added priority to developing partnerships with local civil society in non-EU countries of origin, transit and destination, governments and the private sector and to addressing the financial and economic aspects of trafficking;

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119.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU-Delegations.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0470.
(2) See p. 23 of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) report entitled ‘Counter Trafficking and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants Annual Report of Activities 2011’.

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